Edge Computing Infrastructure Challenges

Internet use is trending towards bandwidth-intensive content and an increasing number of attached “things”. At the same time, mobile telecom networks and data networks are converging into a cloud computing architecture.

To support needs today and tomorrow, computing power and storage is being inserted out on the network edge in order to lower data transport time and increase availability. Edge computing brings bandwidth-intensive content and latency-sensitive applications closer to the user or data source.

The average data center experiences 30 minutes of downtime yearly compared to 29 hours at edge computing sites. To achieve the same resiliency, you need to bring best data center practices to your edge network.

Strengthen Resiliency at the Edge.

Although small local edge compute sites have traditionally not been treated the same as a central data center in terms of criticality and electrical redundancy, their availability is increasingly necessary for business continuity.

As part of the digital transformation, new IT is being deployed on-premise to enable business critical processes and experiences that rely on network connectivity to the cloud. When that access point is down, employee productivity is limited, and the site’s operations grind to a halt (i.e. can’t deliver on product or customer experience).

A local edge site could be a manufacturing floor, a distribution warehouse, a bank branch, a retail store, a healthcare facility, etc. There are numerous cases of the technologies mentioned above being deployed across different verticals. Think about the technology of video analytics, for example.

In a retail store environment alone, we’ve identified many use-cases – from observing facial expressions of customers, to determining when queue lines will form, or even to eliminating the traditional “check out” process. In a manufacturing facility such as an automotive plant, it’s being deployed for personal safety, for detecting production defects, and to streamline operations; In financial branches, to people count and identify demographics; and in a healthcare facility, to monitor patients and analyze when you need intervention.

As technologies like this become a more integral part of the day-to-day business and/or customer experience, the edge compute sites that house the associated distributed IT equipment must be robust. The role of IT is no longer viewed as a cost center, rather it is tightly connected to the business strategy and to profit, making resiliency even more imperative.

There are two unique attributes of local edge environments, in contrast with regional edge or centralized data centers, that make it challenging to achieve the necessary resiliency:

  1. lack of IT and/or facilities staff on-site
  2. a large number of sites, geographically dispersed

In this paper, APC by Schneider focuses on common problems found in edge environments, and what it takes to design, assemble, deploy, and manage a robust infrastructure, so that business-critical applications remain available and personnel at the edge sites can focus on their primary tasks.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact carl.poupaert@techdata.be

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