Edge computing will top many enterprises’ 2019 resolution lists. In fact, research firm IDC predicts that over 40% of cloud deployments will include edge services by 2022. The explosive growth of the technology, however, will also mean a new host of deployment challenges that tech providers will need to overcome.
To accomplish this, enterprises have started developing a “cloud augmentation strategy” to enhance their centralized cloud environments with edge computing. Augmenting current cloud environments is no easy task. A distributed edge solution requires data centers in different geographical areas with connectivity back to the centralized cloud, but an effective solution will also include capabilities beyond traditional compute and storage to keep up with evolving technologies.
To circumvent deployment challenges and build out cloud augmentation strategies, the tech industry’s best bet will be to join forces. By forming partnerships between networks, data centers, and computing providers, the industry can alleviate the growing pains that come with implementing edge solutions and accelerate enterprise adoption.
Working with Edge Data Centers to Mitigate the Space Problem
The edge offers a more efficient solution for enterprises’ data needs by bringing services geographically closer to devices that are responsible for generating and consuming data. This placement omits the need for data to be sent to the distant cloud - providing a faster and cost-effective communications route.
While edge roll-outs are more efficient virtually, they require more physical space. Surprisingly, many vendors do not account for the resources needed to build out their own edge platforms, leaving them unable to deploy data solutions in geographically strategic areas. Partnerships can alleviate this “space” issue, allowing tech providers to place their services within an existing data center or point-of-presence (PoP).
For example, an applications provider may want to expand its services from the traditional cloud to the edge for time-intensive applications, or to expand into a global market. Rather than spend the time and money to build out its own data centers to operate in, the vendor could partner with a network that has strategically-located data centers across the globe. This means the computing capabilities are placed closer to the end-user, and businesses can take advantage of both providers’ offerings at the edge.
By partnering with a data center, an edge platform can extend its global delivery capabilities and increase capacity without having to build out their own resources. As a result, data will be dispersed at a physically smaller scale, but with a wider virtual bandwidth.
Padding Edge Networks with Enhanced Analytics Capabilities
As technologies such as IoT evolve, edge solutions are poised to enable real-time insights through analytics. Vendors can partner data storage technologies with edge analytics capabilities to guarantee optimal performance. This includes efficiently managing data streams at the edge, performing extract, transform, and load (ETL) on incoming logs and beacons.
Take, for example, the critical infrastructure of oil pipelines. Maintaining these structures was once a time-intensive process that required manual monitoring. The introduction of IoT has allowed companies to add sensors on pipelines to proactively monitor pressure levels and the condition of the infrastructure.
To take this a step further, the oil company can connect IoT sensors to a partner edge network. This ensures the pipeline can deliver critical insight to nearby PoPs, and immediately to employees monitoring the system. The partnership could also include enhanced analytics capabilities within the edge data center, allowing the oil company to anticipate issues using predictive analytics and even artificial intelligence (AI). A partnership would allow enterprises to capitalize on the proximity of an edge data center and leverage analytics to make the solution that much more efficient.
What Edge Partnerships Mean for Future Innovation
Developments like AI and 5G are on the horizon, and industry experts expect new applications to revolutionize data generation and analysis. Everything from autonomous vehicles to medical equipment is becoming data-reliant, meaning that latency is now a top IT consideration across industries.
As businesses define how innovations will fit within their strategies, one thing is certain: edge computing will play a major role in supporting next-generation technologies. To lay the foundation, it’s even more critical that tech vendors join forces to reduce geographical space and analysis time for edge deployments. These partnerships will mitigate implementation challenges while paving the way for deeper insights and accelerated enterprise adoption.
About the author
Neil Glazebrook is Director of Product Management for Edge Compute and IoT at Limelight Networks. Neil joined Limelight in 2017 and drives the company’s edge compute product strategy to help enterprises increase efficiency, improve customer experiences and drive innovation through global connectivity.