As we’ve discussed many times here, life at the edge is different. Whereas the corporate data center is highly regulated and predictable, computing at the edge of the network is anything but. From deploying computing environments in the middle of the ocean to managing a diverse array of edge infrastructure components in a cohesive manner, IT leaders must carefully consider all of their options as they embark on their journey to the edge.
Choosing the right edge computing provider can be just as daunting. IT decision-makers must consider a range of factors – from energy requirements and system performance to the ease of management and overall resilience of an edge system – and then weigh those factors in the context of economic value. And with dozens of technology vendors offering their own flavor of edge solutions, it’s easy to see why choosing the right provider can be a painstaking task.
According to our customers, there are four primary reasons that organizations across the spectrum of industries are choosing to standardize their edge deployments on Scale Computing Platform:
1. Manage Multiple Edge Deployments as One
Every edge deployment presents its own unique challenges. But perhaps the most challenging of all is managing a fleet of edge deployments in a fully orchestrated manner. Whether it’s a retailer with hundreds or thousands of store locations or a corporate office with multiple remote locations, the ability to deploy and manage edge systems in a coordinated manner – and to do so at scale – has become a foundational requirement for the distributed enterprise.
Scale Computing Fleet Manager is the first cloud-hosted monitoring and management tool built for hyperconverged edge computing infrastructure. With SC//Fleet Manager, customers can consolidate their fleet of clusters in real-time – including storage and compute resources – enabling IT organizations to manage a fleet of up to 50,000 clusters from a single pane of glass. Edge customers can also realize operational efficiencies by:
- Viewing every cluster from a single pane of glass, instead of navigating to individual cluster UIs
- Quickly check connectivity and cluster health at a glance
- Drilling down into a specific cluster to diagnose and address any issues
- Initializing clusters with no on-premises IT expertise leveraging Zero Touch Provisioning
- Automatically deploying one-click, rolling software updates across clusters
To enhance our fleet management capabilities, we also recently introduced a RedHat-certified Ansible collection for SC//HyperCore. This allows customers to programmatically manage their fleet of clusters by leveraging Infrastructure as Code (IaC), allowing them to define what the environment should look like in a software-driven declarative manner. This means users can now automate cluster and VM management across multiple SC//HyperCore systems including provisioning, application deployment, configuration management, drift remediation and security/compliance.
2. Fast & Consistent Edge Deployments Every Time
One of the most important yet time-consuming tasks of managing multiple edge locations is the provisioning of each node within a cluster. The provisioning process typically requires an IT administrator to manually initialize each node – without the proper attention to detail, a small error in this crucial first phase can lead to big problems later on.
With Scale Computing’s Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP), IT teams and integrators can remotely stage clusters for installation, slashing the time to deploy by 90% or more. Featuring cloud-like simplicity, ZTP enables administrators to centrally configure a cluster in SC//Fleet Manager prior to nodes arriving on-premises, eliminating the need to have an IT admin on-site to babysit the process. Leveraging ZTP, nodes and clusters no longer require manual initialization, significantly reducing the cost and lead time needed to add or replace hardware at the edge which in turn can help IT organizations future-proof their investment.
Customers can also remotely stage their clusters any time between node purchase and site install so that when nodes are powered on they automatically provision and initialize themselves. This is an important benefit both to those installing Scale Computing HyperCore clusters with limited to no IT expertise or tools, as well as for those organizations who are running a large number of clusters and need a fast and automated solution for implementation.
3. A Robust Hypervisor Minus the Headaches
SC//HyperCore was designed as an alternative to conventional hypervisors which often introduce an additional layer of complexity to edge deployments. SC//HyperCore is based on components of the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor, which is part of the mainline Linux kernel utilized in Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as by popular cloud providers like Google Compute Engine. Embedding our KVM-based hypervisor allows for tighter integration with storage components, enables streamlined updates, and offers greater stability in the overall development process.
With the SC//HyperCore KVM-based hypervisor, our customers benefit from having:
- Hypervisor-embedded storage that is configured automatically and runs efficiently with little overhead;
- Automated updates for hypervisor, storage and management handled through the SC//HyperCore via non-disruptive, one-click upgrades;
- An intuitive UI that doesn’t require any specialized KVM knowledge or experience to take advantage of the rich feature set
4. Streamlined Container Management
Because edge computing devices are often resource-constrained, with limited processing power, memory, and storage capacity, many IT organizations have begun to adopt containers which provide a lightweight and effective way to package applications and their dependencies, enabling them to run more efficiently on edge devices. Consequently, the ability to monitor and manage all of these containers in a systematic and cloud-like manner has become a critical requirement, especially for industries like manufacturing and retail that are investing heavily in data-intensive edge applications like inferencing, computer vision, and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML).
Both SC//Fleet Manager and SC//HyperCore are container and “control plane” agnostic and as such, we support solutions from all of the major public cloud providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and IBM as well as the leading container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes.
For larger and more complex deployments, SC//HyperCore orchestration tools include our REST APIs, cloud-init support and Ansible collection which can automatically deploy and scale out multi-node Kubernetes clusters on top of SC//Platform. These tools can then deploy or update Kubernetes applications as needed, enabling IT administrators to manage their entire application and infrastructure stack in a programmatic fashion.
To learn more about how Scale Computing can help your organization accelerate your edge computing deployment, follow this link to schedule a demo with one of our edge experts.