Edge Computing: A Better Option for Your Business

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June 18, 2019

We’ve long held the opinion that many companies are moving solely to the cloud because it’s en-vogue, not because it’s necessarily cost-effective or adequately meets their needs.

Moving all your apps, workloads, et al., to a remote data center just because it’s a popular trend is sort of like answering with “yes” if someone asked you the question “if all your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you jump too?”

That doesn’t mean Cloud computing doesn’t have its perks. There are plenty of fantastic uses out there (Office 365 from Microsoft is an excellent example).

So obviously, we know that Cloud computing is prevalent in today’s business world, but what are the alternatives? I mean, besides traditional computing.

The answer to that question might be Edge computing. What is Edge computing? How does it compare to Cloud computing? What makes Edge computing the more attractive computing model?

Recently in the office, we’ve been talking a lot about how the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed computing. Mostly we’ve been discussing the differences between Cloud computing and Edge computing and why Edge computing is becoming a more attractive computing model.

So, before we get into that, let’s go over the fundamental differences between Cloud computing and Edge computing, what each is, and how they work before we get into our reasoning and what we think the best Edge computing solution might be.

What is Cloud computing?

Cloud computing is an on-demand computing resource. It provides the availability to multiple things (like data storage and processing power) without any direct active management by the end user.

Cloud computing is made possible by data centers made available (at a cost) to end users over the internet. The cloud may be limited to single organizations (called Enterprise Clouds), many organizations (Public Cloud) or a combination of the two (Hybrid Clouds). Cloud computing relies on sharing resources to achieve economies of scale.

Use cases for Cloud computing may include:

– Email.
– Virtual Desktops (VDI) / Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
– Test and Development
– Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
– Private/Public/Hybrid Cloud
– Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)
– Big Data Analytics
– Software as a Service (SaaS)

Some of the benefits of cloud computing are:

– Minimized up-front IT costs
– Excellerated app deployment
– Improved manageability and less maintenance
– Allows IT, teams, to adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable demands
  more rapidly

That doesn’t mean Cloud computing is without negatives. Some of those include:

– Limited customization options
– Might not meet compliance/legal needs
– Cost prohibitive to small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises
– Only as secure from cyber attack as the host/vendor

What is Edge computing?

Edge computing is, in many ways, the opposite of Cloud computing. Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computer data storage closer to the location where it is needed.

Edge computing doesn’t necessarily require communication with any centralized cloud (although it may interact with one).

Some of the benefits of Edge computing include:

– Reduced latency. Data is processed locally rather than possibly half a world away
– Not susceptible to things like Distributed Denial of Service attack
– Easy to scale. Data centers (even private ones) are expensive to build and maintain. Edge
  computing is more comfortable to scale with localized hardware

**We’ll be getting into what kind of equipment you can use for this a little later in the article**

– Provides unprecedented access to big data. Edge computing allows for devices that are
  always on, continually connected, and consistently generating data for future analysis.
– Lower chance of service outages. Because the computing is done locally at the Edge of
  the network, there’s a better chance that things will stay up and running than remotely
  hosted services

Some of the negatives of Edge computing include:

– Potential for a significant capital expenditure
– Equipment may take up a substantial amount of space

The way we look at it, there are three different types of Edge computing. There’s the traditional Edge computing model (which we’ve mentioned in some detail above), there’s Private Cloud Edge computing (which, in my opinion, is the worst scenario, a mixing of both models worst features) and Distributed Edge computing.

Distributed Edge is where the magic happens.

We already know that Edge computing happens around the perimeter of the network, or beyond the four walls of the data center. How is that accomplished?

One of the allures of Cloud computing was/is the capabilities a data center could offer in comparison to on-site physical limitations. Limited space, a need to reduce utility costs, the list goes on.

Form factors have changed drastically, though when it comes to the equipment used in data centers. What used to take rack after rack of space is now often confined to the size of a Rasberry Pi (some of which are capable of fitting in the palm of your hand).

Distributed Edge computing takes of advantage of this and makes operating at the edge of the network more accessible than ever before. One of the best Edge computing solution providers we’ve found is Scale Computing.

The Indiana based company their HE500 series is a thing of beauty.

Here’s a snapshot of their current offerings:

data_sheets_he500

The HE500 series is a set of right-sized HCI appliances that provide enterprise-class features to remote locations and boost edge computing capabilities with disaster recovery.

Each HE500 appliance model can be deployed quickly, managed locally or remotely, and is fitted with self-healing technology to provide almost instant failover and minimal downtime. Also, the HE500 series offers a low-cost option for disaster recovery infrastructure that is easy to deploy, easy-to-use, and runs disaster recovery workloads reliably.

WATCH: DATA CENTERS IN THE EDGE COMPUTING ERA

There is a slew of use cases we thing Scale Computing’s HE500 series devices are perfect for, and we’ll be covering those solutions in depth over the course of the next few weeks.

If you’re interested in following along to see what Edge computing might be able to do for your business, I suggest you click the subscription CTA located in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Feel like sharing your thoughts with us? Use the comment section below!

 

Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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