Edge computing is one of the most important trends in IT. By 2023, more than half of new enterprise IT infrastructure will be at the edge, according to IDC.1 By 2025, Gartner predicts 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside a traditional data center or cloud.2
Despite this significant shift, however, many IT and business leaders are early in the process of defining how edge complements their overall cloud strategy. According to exclusive research by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, many organizations are just beginning to realize the potential of edge initiatives through pilot projects and proofs of concept.
To help you move forward in your edge journey, this article defines four important factors to keep in mind.
Factor No. 1: Cloud and edge are complementary.
One of the common myths about the edge is that it will somehow displace cloud computing. In reality, edge and cloud should work hand in hand. The smart strategy assumes synchronization between a decentralized edge and a centralized cloud. With the cloud, whether public, hybrid or private, you have a platform to centralize all your data and leverage it where and when needed across the entire enterprise.
The edge allows you to maximize the value of your data with speed and insight. With the edge, you can send data to the cloud and retrieve it quickly, or better yet, you can leverage it where it is created. This generates incremental value for applications and use cases that gain advantage from real-time analytics, internet of things (IoT) devices and rapid decision-making. You can make time-sensitive decisions on site, using real-time data. You can minimize the costs for transporting raw data and enable applications and use cases where data can’t be sent off site, for security, compliance or other reasons.
Factor No. 2: Many innovative use cases derive from IoT convergence and integration.
While edge use cases are diverse, the benefits consistently center on creating the operational efficiencies and speed that can drive new and transformative business models for competitive differentiation. Such use cases include monitoring and threshold alerts; predictive maintenance and machine-to-machine automation; remote learning and training; and in-hospital and home health monitoring. The possibilities are endless, fueling demand for edge computing technology at a projected compound annual growth rate of 38.4% from 2021 to 2028, according to Grand View Research.3
Examples of real-world use cases from HPE customers include:
- Empowering immersive experiences at Disney Parks. Says Michael Tschanz, director of engineering and technology analysis at Disney Parks, “With edge computing, there's often a discussion about whether you should be doing more in the cloud or doing things more locally. What we've come to understand is it's not just about doing one or the other; it's about a hybrid way of doing things. It's managing which application or solution works best.”
- Modernizing IT to drive digital transformation and IoT innovation at KEMET Electronics. Says Chris Hall, senior vice president of IT and CIO at KEMET, “A lot of the things that we have enabled are due to cloud-based computing and a network infrastructure that supports an edge-to-cloud environment like ours. One of the biggest items to impact our business to date is what we're doing with IoT. It is going to save us eight figures annually in the coming years. The projects we've implemented have already paid for the underlying technology in the first year of existence, and the rest is just savings potential for the foreseeable future.”
- Innovating with the industrial IoT at Texmark. Says Linda Salinas, vice president of operations at Texmark, “We’re building a Refinery of the Future that combs through data and reveals how the entire plant is interconnected. It becomes like a living, breathing organic plant that knows how it should operate; if any part falls out of line, it flags for intervention.”
See related article: Texmark: Where Digital Transformation Never Stops
Factor No. 3: Edge innovation requires a cohesive data strategy to scale.
A successful edge strategy begins with a cohesive plan for managing the data and infrastructure. The massive amount of data being generated outside the data center is the key factor accelerating the need for edge computing. Not all of the data can or should be stored and forwarded. Without a comprehensive data strategy, you run the risk that your data capture will quickly outpace your ability to drive business insights.
One important factor is to leverage solutions that can manage data holistically from creation to deletion. That means using automated and data-centric policies that eliminate silos and unify workflows across the data lifecycle, wherever the data resides—from the data center to the edge to the cloud.
See related article: Three Ways to Beat the Complexity of Storage and Data Management to Spark Innovation
Factor No. 4: Networking is core to a successful edge strategy.
The need to reduce latency and improve resiliency has been a vital factor in the rise of edge computing. Now, with the growth of IoT and the shift to more IT infrastructure at the edge, the role of the network is taking on even greater importance, with a focus on wired and wireless networks and factors such as speed, capacity, bandwidth, throughput, resiliency and reduced latency.
More edge-enabled applications and use cases will require the processing and analysis of data in real time to address performance issues and limit bandwidth-related costs. The focus on network performance and bandwidth will become only more pronounced in the future, as more applications leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver value to and from the edge.
Taking the Next Step
Successful edge computing requires well-considered architecture and implementation planning, which is made even more complex due to the decentralized nature of edge. With numerous sites collecting and analyzing data and the immediacy of decision-making, it is difficult to create a one-size-fits-all model.
Working with a trusted partner is one of the surest ways to gain a competitive edge anywhere on your edge journey. To learn how HPE can help your organization develop and implement your edge-to-cloud roadmap, please review the articles on this site and visit HPE at HPE.com/Edge.
1 “Edge Computing: Not All Edges Are Created Equal,” IDC, June 1, 2020
2 “Computing on the Edge Can be Transformative—But Look Before You Leap,” Forbes, March 15, 2021
3 “Edge Computing Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis Report,” Grand View Research, May 2020