Edge computing has been one of the hottest buzzwords in IT over the past year, and it’s easy to see why. Businesses are implementing innovative workloads using new technologies that require on-premises processing of data due to the requirements of lower latencies, the volume of data being generated, autonomy or even regulation that requires it to run outside the cloud or primary data center. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how edge computing is transforming the industry—including how enterprises can best utilize edge computing to fuel innovation in their business strategies while protecting their data assets at the same time.
Organizations looking to deploy edge computing solutions on hyperconverged infrastructure are attracted by three main advantages of edge computing: performance, security, and cost-efficiency.
Edge computing can boost application performance in several ways: The speed at which data is processed increases by reducing latency and allowing critical operations to occur at local nodes. All of these benefits improve the overall end-user experience.
In terms of flexibility, edge computing technologies offer clear benefits over their more traditional counterparts deployed in conventional data centers.
Where Edge Computing and Hyperconverged Infrastructure Intersect
Edge computing is one of those terms that's been thrown around a lot lately, but what does it mean? Edge computing involves placing compute resources closer to where data is generated and used rather than sending all data back to centralized servers or the public cloud. This enables the adoption of new applications and use cases such as AI/ML, augmented reality, computer vision, etc. where additional data generated and processed at the edge has a direct impact on the organization (higher revenues, lower costs, or potentially both depending on the environment). The benefit is clear: lower latency times and better performance for applications.
Edge computing requires businesses to rethink their relationship with managing infrastructure, but many CIOs may not fully understand how an enterprise can leverage edge computing. Often unique in edge computing deployments are the lack of on-premises IT expertise to deploy and manage infrastructure, and legacy workloads that need to be run on-premises with newer workloads - challenges solved by edge-ready HCI.
What is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)? HCI pools together resources into an infrastructure that can be managed with cloud-like ease for the entire stack (hypervisor, storage, etc.). Virtualization software turns many high-performing processors into multiple virtual machines with their own virtual processors, thus allowing each OS to run its own set of programs independent of other OS running on other processors. This means that if you need more processing power in an application or system, you can add more virtual processor cores to an existing virtual machine (VM) without affecting other processes running on other VMs.
Enterprise Use Cases
Edge computing offers many use cases for hyperconverged infrastructure in addition to those already mentioned above, including cloud services, mobile/IoT device data collection and storage, business continuity/disaster recovery, and Industry 4.0 Manufacturing Automation.
Edge computing can take advantage of HCI by using shared storage between compute nodes and allowing users to manage all their edge computing workloads from a single management interface (like that of Scale Computing Platform). This streamlined process removes network latency caused by transferring data between sites. By storing data on edge servers that reside as close as possible to its point of origin, we reduce network traffic and make business insights actionable faster than ever before.
Today’s enterprises rapidly move away from managing isolated IT systems. They’re modernizing to gain operational excellence through integrated systems with built-in cybersecurity protections and designed for digital transformation with multiple application profiles. Using edge computing infrastructure platforms with built-in high availability (HA) will decrease costly downtime at major companies that rely on highly distributed equipment assets in each global region where they operate.
Edge Computing in Action with HCI
Now that edge computing has become a reality for enterprises, and as HCI continues to demonstrate its viability in enterprise data centers, there’s no doubt that we’ll see more and more edge computing use cases in years to come.
Edge computing has several advantages over centralized cloud architectures (which involve transferring large amounts of data from sites to a central location), including cost savings, improved performance, and higher levels of security. This makes it an ideal solution for both large businesses—companies with multiple sites that are tired of paying expensive bandwidth bills—and smaller companies that can’t afford traditional cloud costs.
The downside is that storing all your data on-premises means you have limited access to it if something goes wrong or needs maintenance. In situations like these, having an edge hyperconverged infrastructure could be just what the enterprise needs to ensure business continuity at every level. With HCI, everything sits onsite; system components are close by, so they can easily communicate with each other and quickly respond when problems arise.
HCI Changes Everything
Companies are still trying to figure out what edge computing is and how it works for them. Luckily, you don’t have to learn edge computing from scratch. The best way for most enterprises to start leveraging HCI for edge computing can be done by deploying software on edge-ready hardware that scales up when necessary, but scales down if the number of workloads decreases.
All of these advantages come with minimal costs — so much so that leading industry experts think edge computing will make hyperconverged infrastructure ubiquitous in companies of any size. And if there’s one sure thing about pervasive hyperconvergence, it’s going to change everything we know about business as usual.
Want to see edge computing and HCI in action? Request a demo today!