Data + Compute: How Edge Can Boost Resiliency

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While manufacturing was among the first industries to see the value in edge computing, the technology is gaining acceptance: 65% of IT leaders across all industries are researching or using edge computing.[1] By 2028, mobile and residential consumers will comprise 37% of the global edge footprint, a sure sign of edge going mainstream.[2] On the edge bandwagon: healthcare, manufacturing, energy, logistics, smart cities, retail, and transportation.

Valued for low latency, and bringing compute power to where the data lives (instead of vice-versa), edge is predicted to have a key role in modernization and transformation: between 2019 and 2028, the $800 billion IT leaders plan to spend on new and replacement IT server equipment and edge computing facilities “will be relatively evenly split between equipment for the device and infrastructure edges.”[3]

Mainstream indeed.

We reached out to IT influencers to tap into the current sentiment on how edge can play a role in today’s quest for data-driven, digital-first resiliency.

The Edge and the Cloud: Inextricably Linked

It’s best to think of the edge as “a natural extension of cloud computing.”[4] But there are fundamental differences.

“Begin by understanding the difference between cloud computing and edge computing,” urges Peter B. Nichol, CTO at OROCA Innovations. “Cloud computing is effective in processing data that is not time-driven. When organizations have time-sensitive data, edge computing is preferred. It’s not a question of whether your organization should be using cloud computing or edge computing; you need both capabilities as they are helpful for different business cases.”

Cloud and edge computing are evolving into a global, cloud-first network. Edge computing must integrate with existing cloud infrastructure to get the most value out of the edge’s advantages.

Marshalling Resources at the Edge

A successful edge initiative takes planning and resources, says global thought leader and tech influencer Elitsa Krumova.

“IT and business leaders must ensure that the required resources, able to support resilient and robust edge infrastructure, are present, in order to be able to unleash the organization’s transition to powerful digital-first and data-driven connectivity operations,” she says.

“This means addressing cyber security concerns and data safety issues, allocating the optimal connectivity and power resources, and establishing the essential level of automation and remote cloud monitoring of the edge infrastructure.”

And organizations are getting help, Krumova says. “Ensuring that the enterprise is capable of supporting and maintaining such a critical ecosystem with the requisite skills, is critical to leveraging edge computing infrastructure for data-driven, digital-first resiliency in a connected world. This is the reason why more and more businesses are choosing to rely on edge solution providers to leverage the strategy for deployment and maintenance of their edge environments.”

It’s the sheer size and scale of business today that requires a modern approach like edge, says Nikolay Ganyushkin, CEO & co-founder of Acure.io.

“Classic client-server approaches with point-to-point data transfers can’t withstand the strain nor meet the high standards of efficiency, with old-school approaches simply unable to be implemented any longer, thus requiring today’s modern approaches,” Ganyushkin says. “For example, we have a large retail company—a supermarket operator. Each supermarket generates 20 gigabytes of data per day. Now, let's say, we have 100 supermarkets. It is impossible to build an efficient system with a data-driven approach without modern edge computing and data preprocessing, which deliver the digital-first resiliency advanced businesses require for true success.”

The Human Experience

The upheaval in work spurred by the pandemic response has shone a spotlight on the human side of business, and the intersection of technology and human experience. Edge has a role here, our influencers point out.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to shift to a digital-first model to deliver products, services, and experiences to their prospects and customers,” says GeekHive.com chief strategy officer Gene De Libero.

“The challenge of immediately enabling client mobility was enormous,’ adds De Libero. “In cases like this, edge computing helps reduce the impact of the instant remote workforce on corporate networks by enabling the consistent, scalable delivery of digital services, including interaction with business applications and associated data in real-time, without negative impacts on performance.”

The edge adds a dimension of flexibility that can help IT leaders provide a better experience for customers and employees, says Isaac Sacolick president of StarCIO and digital transformation leader and influencer.

"The apps we're developing today are often part of the human experience,” he says. “Solutions that include edge computing infrastructure provide the agility and versatility required to adapt to the growing demand for new and improving human experience applications, and trailblazing IT and business leaders recognize the importance of adopting them in digital-first resilient architectures."

The IT POV on the Edge

Will Kelly, senior product marketing manager for Section, an edge compute platform, is clear about the connection between edge and resiliency.

“In terms of resiliency, edge computing operates even when networks are slow or even have intermittent availability which can be beneficial in some continuity of operations (COOP) use cases,” Kelly says. “Today’s edge computing solutions provide IT and business leaders a situational awareness of sorts because technology as opposed to humans makes intelligent decisions about workload placement and traffic routing while optimizing performance and cost tradeoffs.”

Building resiliency is also a plus for security, says Helen Yu, founder and CEO of Tigon Advisory Corp.

“Edge computing allows IT leaders to enhance the security of their operations,” she says. “It also benefits business leaders by reducing the risk of single point of failure, hence making their business more resilient to external risk factors such as reliability and speed of communication network.”

The emergence and adoption of technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) will help edge fulfill its promise of enabling data-driven organizations, says Chuck Brooks, president of Brooks Consulting International and adjunct faculty at Georgetown University.

“Edge computing will be needed to maximize capabilities of processing speeds and reduce bandwidth requirements,” says Brooks. “5G and AI/ML analytical algorithms, and automation will help catalyze the move to the data-driven edge infrastructure.”

Looking ahead, Linda Grasso, digital creator and CEO of DeltalogiX says, “In the coming years, edge computing will deliver insights faster than ever before, improving data latency and business resiliency in the digital transformation journey.”

[1] Foundry Data and Analytics Survey, 2021

[2] State of the Edge Report, 2021, Equinix

[3] State of the Edge Report, 2021, Equinix

[4] State of the Edge Report, 2021, Equinix