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Editor’s Question: How will adopting an Edge Computing strategy benefit organisations?

Editor’s Question: How will adopting an Edge Computing strategy benefit organisations?

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Scale Computing, a market leader in Edge Computing, virtualisation and hyperconverged solutions, has announced a collaboration with IBM that will help organisations adopt an Edge Computing strategy designed to enable them to move data and applications seamlessly across hybrid cloud environments, from private data centres to the Edge. Scale Computing is delivering on-premises Edge Computing solutions for applications that are designed to be flexible and intelligent to help address high-availability and resilience.

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value report, Why organizations are betting on edge computing: Insights from the edge, revealed that 91% of the 1,500 executives surveyed indicated that their organisations plan to implement Edge Computing strategies within five years. IBM Edge Application Manager, an autonomous management solution that runs on Red Hat OpenShift, enables the secured deployment, continuous operations and remote management of AI, analytics and IoT enterprise workloads to deliver real-time analysis and insights at scale. 

“We see that the periphery of storage and compute has undergone transformational changes on so many fronts over the last 18 months – from employee and customer health and safety, supply chain challenges, to shifting product demands, to being an increasing target of cyberattacks,” said Jeff Ready, CEO and Co-founder of Scale Computing. “We believe that Edge Computing is critical for the future of many organisations, and organisations of all sizes across all industries can take steps now to help simplify the deployment and management of localised compute infrastructure in a secure and resilient manner. We are excited to team our HC3 Edge Computing solutions with IBM Edge Application Manager in an effort to help organisations optimise their operations across the globe with infrastructure designed to be self-healing and automated, as well as added containerised application management that can help them grow into the new reality of Edge Computing.”

Scale Computing HC3 Edge Computing solutions are designed to provide customers with an autonomous infrastructure that can run modern containerised applications alongside legacy applications as virtual machines. This can help users centrally monitor and manage their fleet of distributed infrastructure and applications through the entire life cycle — from deployment and maintenance updates to service level monitoring and problem remediation.

“We look forward to collaborating with Scale Computing to help clients deploy, operate and manage thousands of endpoints throughout their operations with IBM Edge Application Manager,” said Evarisitus Mainsah, GM, IBM Hybrid Cloud and Edge Ecosystem. “Together, we can help enterprises accelerate their Digital Transformation by acting on insights closer to where their data is being created, at the Edge.”

We heard from a number of industry experts to glean their thoughts on how the adoption of an Edge Computing strategy could help organisations to move data and applications seamlessly across hybrid cloud environments, from private data centres to the Edge.

Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company: “The C-suite and business leaders understand the value of technology and the benefits it can bring, but there is one key technological shift on the horizon that they can’t afford to ignore: networking at the Edge.

“Over the next five years, organisations in every industry will experience change on an unprecedented scale. A whole new range of possibilities emerge when we can engage with every device and build intelligence and connectivity into physical objects. The path to 2025 will spawn new customer-centric businesses, enable entire new industries and reinvent existing ones, challenge us to adapt and evolve, and facilitate greater access, equity and inclusion across every aspect of society – this is the potential of the Edge.

“Edge technologies allow the processing of data by devices at the Edge of networks, which is where users and devices are. It is where things connect to the network, whether they are wired or wireless.

“The new Edge network combines AI, ML and automation to continuously learn, predict and adapt to changes, needs and threats in real time. The new Edge network utilises technologies and software to make sense of the resulting insights, enabling businesses to act and respond, optimising the experience for the customer or user wherever they are. Pushing intelligence out to the Edge will drive change in the design of our products, services, processes and organisations, and transform how decisions get made – giving greater autonomy to the devices at the Edge.

“Edge-based strategies are driving critical shifts shaping the future of business and work over the next five years:

1.      User empowerment – The technologies are enabling a fundamental redesign of the user experience, giving users the tools to define what they want, how they want it and even how they want to pay for it.

2.      Transformational leadership – The scalability and rapid capability enhancements of exponentially advancing technologies are enabling leaders to pursue and deliver experiments to drive 2x-10x greater improvements across their businesses.

3.      The pursuit of digital innovation and excellence – The increasingly central role of digital technologies demands that we raise digital literacy across the organisation and prioritise the rapid evolution of our digital capability to accelerate the adoption of a digital mindset and speed up the creation of digitally based products and services based on insights generated from data collected.

4.      Embracing and embedding smart – The Edge is helping organisations embrace the true power of smart devices. Rapid advancements in AI and ML are enabling the establishment of smart spaces and creating the opportunity for smart personalisation, adaptation and continuous learning in the applications offered to users.

5.      Emergence of new businesses and industry sectors at the Edge – The focus on solutions tailored to customer needs is driving opportunities from the creation of new businesses to the birth of new trillion-dollar industry sectors.

“Capturing the Edge opportunity requires radical shifts in strategic thinking, an investment in developing deep digital experiences, experimentation with new business and revenue models, and evolution of the IT function. This change needs to be owned and driven from the C-suite.

“The opportunity at the Edge represents a new way of conceiving business – designing from the outside in and putting the organisation’s focus on what happens at the Edge to maximise value for customers and employees while also driving operational efficiency. For the C-suite, the call to action is clear. The only question is: how quickly can you respond to start building the future?”

Robert Linsdell, Managing Director A/NZ, Vertiv and LuLu Shiraz, Sales Director for Product and Service A/NZ, Vertiv: We’ve seen a surge in the adoption of technology in the last 18 months, with the pandemic unfolding an unwavering demand for a more communications-centric digital economy. While our population is heavily concentrated in our capital cities, our heartland regions and townships are continuing to expand and so too is their need to be part of the digital-led future. This is particularly pertinent in Australia with the Australia Bureau of Statistics reporting a net loss of 11,800 people in our capital cities due to internal migration in the March 2021 quarter.

The reality is organisations in regional cities now expect similar technology capabilities available to those working in our capital cities, particularly as more people flow from metro to regional with the expectation to continue working as normal. But far too often these businesses rely on the lion’s share of data generated by these technologies being transmitted back and forth between New South Wales regional towns and Sydney, for instance, which is not only restrictive, but expensive.

The geographically dispersed nature of Australia and other parts of Asia Pacific begs for Edge Computing to be in play and we’re already seeing the planning and delivery of these solutions. For metro-grade capabilities, data centres are being designed in the regions to either extend big city services or enable totally localised communications.

Localised data centres provide greater levels of resilience and autonomy, and with low latency, high bandwidth assurance, regional businesses today will have a stronger posture competing in the latest digital shift. While, in time, we anticipate these solutions will go as far as enabling unique, Smart City applications.

But regardless of where a business operates, companies based in regional and metro alike are looking down the barrel of a decentralised workforce ecosystem. From human resources to IT, departments have had to adjust to the eye-opening of COVID-19 and ensure that while employees are out of sight, they aren’t left out of mind. That’s where the adoption of Edge Computing has come to fruition for many, and a recent survey found that respondents with Edge sites anticipated, on average, a 400% increase in the number of Edge sites they will support by 2025.

The hybrid workforce demands Edge – the ‘frozen Zoom face’ simply won’t do anymore and that makes latency more relevant than ever. Smaller modular infrastructure can all but eliminate latency from the equation – because the infrastructure is at the ‘Edge’, i.e., where the data is created. It doesn’t need to take that extra second or more travelling back and forth to a data centre that could be 100 or 1,000 km away.

What we’re seeing here is the ‘coming of Edge’ and it’s not only being driven by people working from anywhere, but also the mesh of IoT sensors generating huge and increasing volumes of data.

Jon Healy, Operations Director at Keysource: “The emergence of cloud, hype and media attention has put a spotlight on Edge as the industry’s next big thing and the enabler to our autonomous and connected future. In recent years there has been a ‘decentralisation’ of data generation and advances in new technologies and the IoT, fuelled by 5G, which has driven the need for processing and storing data with location in mind – to the Edge.

“Edge Computing puts more emphasis on the IT architecture and how it can be leveraged by the customer. For some organisations, it can unlock innovation, new services, new revenue streams and competitive advantage. For others, the rewards are less compelling and often the opportunity will need to be considered against existing investments, implications of change and risk.

“Considering an Edge solution may present an opportunity to combine some parts of the ‘The Stack’ with hardware and services now sourced as one rather than individual components. It can be used just for a specific application, such as the work we have done for DellEMC, deploying Edge solutions to its customers in the development of autonomous vehicles in extreme environment locations.

“Latency is often the key driver for an Edge approach, however, with the improvement of technology and the global network infrastructure, this may become less of a selection factor, leaving the door open for other challenges to be addressed, such as sustainability. For example, it is possible that Edge could be the answer to reducing inefficiencies and controlling the amount of data centre capacity we consume or need. Conversely, it could make it harder to drive efficiency in the industry if solutions are geographically distributed.

“Having data processed, stored and transferred potentially across multiple ‘Edge’ environments arguably increases the risk of a security breach. Given that Edge can often be in remote locations, the physical security may also need to be more of a consideration, especially when sites are unmanned. However, conversely, the ability to silo infrastructure may provide the opportunity of greater protection.

“Finally, operational management of Edge is a critical consideration when deploying or utilising a solution as it inevitably places more emphasis on the ability to remotely monitor or manage your infrastructure. Technology is the key here, with AI and Augmented Reality presenting real opportunities to overcome regional skills and deliver robust service with quicker recovery time when needed.

“Once all of these considerations have been addressed, many organisations can certainly enjoy the benefits of Edge Computing, like decreased latency, better bandwidth management and zero-touch operations – which I believe are key to supporting new expectations of how people, businesses and things interact.”

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