How edge computing will drive IT’s next evolution
By Said Ouissal, Founder and CEO, ZEDEDA
It’s been more than a decade since Capgemini and MIT published “Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations” — time enough for the concept to take root at nearly every established company worldwide. But digital transformation is not a moment — it’s a movement that’s still developing as businesses continue to evolve their IT infrastructure, connecting previously unconnected devices and systems.
Adopting the cloud has been a significant step in the digital transformation for many modern businesses, but deploying and managing today’s mix of legacy and new software investments in the field has continued to be a challenge. Edge computing holds the key to the next phase of IT, bringing the flexibility and agility of the cloud to infrastructure and applications that must remain on-premise.
The evolution from cloud to edge appears inevitable. Today, everything that can run in the cloud does run in the cloud because the economics there are better than anything else. But when more and more data moves to the edge, that equation changes. The shift means that when the data is at the edge, it makes sense for the compute to move there as well.
Companies are signaling that they’re eager to jump on board. Speaking at the Six Five Summit last year, Allison Dew, chief marketing officer and executive VP at Dell Technologies, said that “extracting real-time insights from data at the edge” was one of their customers’ major investment areas.
“You need to elevate your systems and processes to be ready for what’s next,” Dew said. “You need relevant, complete, and real-time data to win and retain customers, streamline supply chains and grow.”
We heard similar stories when talking to IT professionals for our Edge Computing Landscape 2021 report. More than three out of four respondents said they expected to increase spending on edge computing projects in 2022.
Reimagine today’s modern work environments with the edge
Edge computing is providing an opportunity to rethink how we deliver traditional IT services today. Consider the impact that the boom in video conferencing has had on IT departments. The facilities department traditionally managed AV, but now this is a standard IT responsibility. Endpoint management within the AV industry has historically been challenging because of its distributed nature. Most of these devices are not managed or patched over the course of their lives. And while this was once acceptable when video conference systems were confined to the local network, with the rise of cloud-based systems, it’s become a growing risk.
Edge computing has provided organizations a way to reimagine how they provide AV services. Distributed endpoints can be updated and managed remotely, even when IT doesn’t own the network. Additional value-added services can be deployed without anyone ever needing to visit the physical device. They can do this while maintaining the necessary security measures and ensuring high service availability, often with little to no staff on-site. Emerging edge computing technologies will simplify this work for IT departments while providing a foundation to deploy new applications over time.
The edge maximizes security while minimizing latency and disruption
The ability to deliver cloud-like capabilities at the edge is becoming more and more critical due to use cases that involve large amounts of data, require minimal latency, and cannot tolerate disruption (manufacturing, health care, autonomous vehicles, etc.). As IT develops on-prem infrastructure to serve these use cases, a key priority is security. Our survey respondents cited security as by far the number one challenge when considering deploying an edge project, with more than half calling it “significantly challenging.” And with the vast amounts of data generated by companies now on the other edge of their networks — including mobile web, tablets, remote sensors and more — the security demands only grow.
To get the benefits of edge computing, companies need to extend their security concerns to maximize uptime, safety and data integrity when compute resources are deployed outside of secure data centers with no physical or network perimeters. The best approach is a zero-trust security model at the edge spanning people, processes and technology.
IT departments are under tremendous pressure to evolve their infrastructure, and they can’t rely on the historically incremental way of upgrading that they’re accustomed to, where the squeakiest wheel gets the grease. Today’s innovative companies are looking for end-to-end updates, covering everything from procurement, management and security. That means extending lessons learned in the cloud all the way to the edges of the network.
About the author
Said Ouissal is the founder and CEO of Zededa, a leading edge orchestration company.
DISCLAIMER: Guest posts are submitted content. The views expressed in this post are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Edge Industry Review (EdgeIR.com).
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application management | cloud | DevOps | edge orchestration platform | security | Zededa