How does edge computing work? Edge computing allows applications to run outside the data center or cloud, close to where they are used and data is generated. Though edge environments are supported by some form of centralized processing, running applications locally, on-premises solves many of the intrinsic challenges of data center and cloud computing. Edge computing is often referred to as a topology but really its just another platform. Here we will explain, "what is edge computing?"
Data Explosion: More devices generating vast amounts of data.
IoT devices, video systems and environmental sensors are just some of the many technologies saturating our physical spaces and other edge computing devices. These devices generate massive amounts of data, much of which has value when it can be properly collected and analyzed. But bandwidth isn’t free and transferring all that data to the cloud for processing is both impractical and cost-prohibitive. Edge computing architecture allows all this rich data to be collected and processed locally.
Resiliency: Having applications available when they are needed.
Reliable connectivity is key when applications are running from a centralized location. Whether it’s a complete outage, occasional drop or simply high error rates, any interruption is bound to affect the availability and performance of applications relying on that connection. Running applications locally means they can continue to operate as expected, even without a connection to the cloud or data center.
Latency: The impact of network distance and congestion on application response time.
Information takes time to travel across a network. The longer it takes, the more it impacts end-to-end processing times. Expectations for application response times vary from one application, and organization, to the next. However, the more an application experience benefits from a real-time response, the more important it is to remove distance as a factor. Edge computing brings applications closer to where they are used, reducing lag time and improving efficiency.
Regulation: Protecting privacy and maintaining data sovereignty.
Complying with data security and privacy regulations is both serious and non-trivial. The risk of interception and potential for regulatory non-compliance increases every time data is moved. By definition, the cloud is a fuzzy place, making it difficult to know exactly where data is and where it has been. The more data can be collected and processed on-site, the simpler maintaining compliance becomes.
Advantages of Edge Computing
You will see in the advantages and disadvantages of edge computing that there are many advantages.
Consolidate applications and infrastructure on a single, unified platform.
The fully integrated compute, storage, virtualization and disaster recovery environment simultaneously runs legacy and modern applications on the same infrastructure. No need to manage the complexity of separate hardware and software components to support individual point solutions.
Deploy rapidly to tens, hundreds, even thousands of locations.
Familiar, cloud-like orchestration automates error-free provisioning and configuration to set up new infrastructure environments without the need for skilled IT staff on-site.
Trust the infrastructure to manage itself.
Automated intelligence allows the environment to care for itself while keeping applications online. Infrastructure problems are detected, mitigated and corrected in real-time with no IT intervention. Firmware and software updates are applied as system-managed live upgrades. IT admins can monitor the health status of an entire fleet using the centralized management platform.
Manage distributed environments centrally.
The centralized management platform provides an easy-to-use interface for managing and monitoring distributed deployments from a single location. From initial deployment and routine system maintenance to capacity expansion and hardware replacement, administrative tasks are easily automated and remotely executed. Combining centralized management with cloud automation allows infrastructure and applications to achieve and maintain the desired state throughout the entire life of the environment.
No limits at the edge, this is part of the architecture of edge computing, as well as an advantage of edge computing over cloud computing.
As demand to run applications in local, non-IT environments continues to grow, edge computing footprints will expand rapidly within and across tens, hundreds, or even thousands of sites. SC//Platform is unmatched for managing and scaling application infrastructure across many sites under a common platform. Imagine a deployment of a couple of thousand nodes growing effortlessly to tens of thousands of nodes without re-architecting a thing. That’s scaling at the edge.
Right-size for today, scale up and down as needed.
No need to over-provision and pay for idle resources. Seamlessly add or remove compute and storage capacity when needed, without disrupting applications or other workloads running in the environment.
Refresh hardware without rip and replace.
Exchange hardware with newer, higher performance options when demand warrants it, without any downtime or reconfiguration. New infrastructure incorporates directly into the existing environment without upgrading everything at the same time.
Avoid the storage conundrum.
The storage system is designed specifically to work with modern virtualization and avoids issues inherent in traditional network storage approaches (SAN and NAS). By embedding storage with the hypervisor, resources can be automatically pooled across an entire cluster and new storage is automatically added when new nodes are introduced.
Build the perfect application infrastructure at your pace.
Plan the perfect future by not predicting it. Capacity and performance requirements and hardware specs will forever change. Legacy applications will remain mission-critical, while modern applications will require new architectures. Simply mix and match the old and the new on the same infrastructure for a future-proof environment.
Stay online through system errors and failures.
The unique architecture and tight integration of system components allow the infrastructure to monitor itself. Self-healing intelligence automatically takes corrective action when error conditions are detected, without manual intervention, ensuring applications are always available and no data is lost. Failover, redundancy and resiliency are fundamentally designed into every aspect of the solution creating the most highly-available infrastructure solution possible.
Eliminate all single points of failure.
Standard cluster architecture provides unmatched redundancy and fault tolerance at the same or lower price than server-pair alternatives. Three (or more) servers clustered together distribute the entire compute and storage load. In the event one server experiences a failure, at least two servers continue to support the applications and data redundancy remains intact.
Stop scheduling maintenance windows.
System updates are a no-downtime event, delivered automatically as live, fully-tested rolling upgrades. Same for adding or replacing hardware. The system automatically handles it all without any disruption to applications.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Save unnecessary hardware and software costs.
Right-sized, edge-ready infrastructure combines compute, storage, virtualization and disaster recovery into a single solution that eliminates the cost for each component individually. A standard three-node cluster provides built-in redundancy and fault tolerance at a lower price than fully-redundant, over-provisioned, duplicate systems. The unique architecture of the operating platform uses a fraction of the resources of alternatives. Get far more computing power and run more applications with a single platform using significantly lower-cost hardware.
Simplify management and free IT teams from time-consuming maintenance.
From initial deployment and routine system maintenance to capacity expansion and hardware replacement, administrative tasks are easily automated and remotely executed using a centralized management platform. Enjoy automated, error-free provisioning and configuration for deploying new infrastructure without IT staff on-site. Complete system updates and exchange hardware while keeping applications online. Allow the self-monitoring, self-healing system to monitor, detect and correct problems in real-time without any IT intervention. With infrastructure this easy, IT teams can stop looking after environments and spend more time supporting valuable technology initiatives.
Bank on uptime.
Planned and unplanned outages have far-reaching financial effects, so downtime of any kind is simply unacceptable. Failover, redundancy and resiliency are fundamentally designed into every aspect of the infrastructure to create a non-stop computing environment unlike any other. Automated intelligence allows the infrastructure to monitor and care for itself, preventing problems before they can occur. Software updates and hardware replacements are applied in a live environment with no disruption to service. The result is one of the most highly available, reliable application environments possible at essentially the same cost as a standalone, non-redundant system.
Ready for more examples of edge computing? If you're considering edge computing, then you need to read "The Gorilla Guide to Enabling IT at the Edge." Download for free.
Disadvantages of Edge Computing
Here we have a list of edge computing pros and cons. As with all technology platforms, there are disadvantages of edge computing, and challenges of edge computing. IT leaders should we well aware of as they make their decisions.
- Lack of IT staff at remote locations
- Space constrained environments
- Limited physical security for infrastructure
- Poor environmental conditions for IT hardware
- Cost of purchasing infrastructure for many locations
- Managing distributed infrastructure in many locations
- Managing disparate infrastructure and multiple point solutions at each location
- Managing the lifecycle of applications on-premises
- Inconsistent configurations across multiple locations
- Complex, expensive configurations for redundancy and disaster recovery
There are also many edge computing advantages, and important features of edge computing - let's look at those.