Edge Computing represents one of the most transformative trends in the modern IT landscape. Yet even among seasoned IT practitioners, confusion remains about why and how applications running at the edge are critical for business success.
At this year’s SpiceWorld Virtual event, Scale Computing’s co-founder and chief product officer, Scott Loughmiller will be presenting a half-hour session entitled “Edge Computing: Autonomous Application Infrastructure Beyond the Data Center.” Scott will demystify what edge computing is all about, describe the challenges that make edge computing necessary, and explain how the edge is fueling innovation in the modern enterprise. See his short welcome video, below.
If your organization operates in distributed locations such as remote or branch offices, retail stores, manufacturing facilities, or even a fleet of ships, you probably already run applications at all these sites. And the digital demands of today will only make that more necessary. The use cases for edge computing are being driven by the explosion of data generated by IoT devices and sensors, the need to reduce application latency and deal with unreliable connectivity, and the ever-present data security and privacy concerns.
Why the Edge is Now
Gartner estimates 10% of enterprise generated data is currently being created and processed outside the data center or cloud, but forecasts this figure will mushroom to 75% by the year 2025.
As Scott points out, “not all applications can or should run in the cloud.”
To make his case for why edge computing is having its moment in the sun, Scott offers up an example of a quick service restaurant with thousands of locations. In this scenario, he says the CEO has charged the CTO with the Herculean task of introducing app-based payments to all of their stores within a year.
Each of these locations operate like an independent small business without dedicated staff onsite to manage IT systems. Furthermore, as Scott describes it, the internet connection at all the stores is “literally the least reliable part of their infrastructure so they can’t count on the cloud to run their app-based payments.”
To which Scott poses a provocative question: “What kind of technology leader do you want to be? The one that suffers under the demands of the CEO because you’re behind or the one who’s leading the technology decisions and creating real value for your company?”
Edge Use Cases IRL
It’s easy to think of edge computing as another over-hyped technology that’s years away from being fully realized. However, businesses across a wide range of industries have already embraced edge computing and are leveraging it to drive innovative products and services to market.
To reinforce this point, Scott offers up three diverse use cases of edge computing in the retail, transportation, and manufacturing industries:
- Jerry’s Foods (Retail): Jerry’s Foods is a chain of 50 retail, grocery, liquor and hardware store. Everything in the store—point of sale system, inventory management, security cameras, building controls and even digital signage—runs on a small cluster of Scale Computing HC3 infrastructure. Each one of these stores runs like their own business yet can be managed remotely in a centralized fashion. Read the Jerry’s Foods case study.
- Northern Marine (Transportation): Northern Marine operates a diverse fleet of tankers, ferries, and off-shore assets. Each of these vessels rely on a host of critical applications such as crew management, cargo management, accounting, security, and maintenance systems, and even their digital entertainment systems for the ship’s crew. Because internet connectivity is highly intermittent with no on-board IT personnel, Northern Marine has deployed Scale Computing HC3 clusters to run their operations smoothly while at sea. Read the Technology Innovation at Sea white paper.
- Harrison Steel Castings (Manufacturing): Unlike the other use cases that are really just a modernized way of doing things, with Harrison Steel, a manufacturer of highly engineered precision castings, edge computing is enabling them to do things that were simply not possible before. The machines on the factory floor require continuous calibration to produce the quality parts Harrison Steel is known for. Before deploying Scale Computing, they had to physically collect machine data from across the floor to make adjustments on their machines. With Scale Computing clusters now deployed across the factory floor, the company avoided building a costly new network while improving the delivery of their precision parts. Watch the Industry 4.0 webinar with Harrison Steel.
As Scott says in closing, “Customers are innovating and building better products with edge computing. These new paradigms will create a breeding ground of innovation because it’s happening now. Just like we saw with the cloud, now we will see something similar with the edge, This is the future that’s at our fingertips.”
You can watch Scott’s entire presentation on Tuesday, September 28th at 12:15PM EST by registering for SpiceWorld here.