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Evaluate edge computing software for device management

Managing a variety of devices at the edge can create a complex challenge for organizations, but software-based edge management platforms can help.

Edge computing can reduce the computing load on a data center's infrastructure by moving data and calculations to the edge. However, such devices add complexity to an organization's IT system, because staff must learn to deploy, secure and maintain them. Consider the various software management options for edge devices.

As managing edge computing devices becomes increasingly more challenging for IT professionals, many organizations turn to software applications and platforms to manage assets, data and power for their edge devices.

Some edge device management tools come as part of data center infrastructure management tools, and cloud or internet of things (IoT) management tools feature other edge management capabilities. With so many tools available to data center professionals, consider a tool's specific features and your business's budget before deciding which tool best suits your organization.

Edge computing management features

Edge computing can mean many different things to IT professionals, but for data center admins, it typically means centralizing computing infrastructure in an orderly, sustainable and limited way. An edge environment should be managed centrally, live in a hands-off environment and interface seamlessly with existing methods and processes.

Important management features you should consider for your edge computing needs include:

  • Integration into existing monitoring software tools. Your network monitoring and management software should easily integrate edge devices. Ensure that you can provision, deploy and manage any devices within your existing software environment, or that you can obtain new applications for them.
  • Communication and bandwidth monitoring. Most high-powered computing happens in data centers, but edge computing moves some of that power to the edge. This can increase bandwidth usage in both directions, and the network as a whole. Ensure your network is prepared to handle this.
  • Latency monitoring. Edge computing monitoring software should detect latency changes in real time. Understanding which devices need low latency and which can deal with higher latency can be critical for some devices.
  • Power monitoring. Power monitoring for edge devices is especially essential for devices in remote or inaccessible locations.
  • Data storage. Edge devices should only store the data they require for their functions and nothing more. Your organization should create or have a process to move data off its edge devices those devices compute or use that data in order to reduce the load. Moving that data also makes it available for larger processing systems elsewhere in your network that can use it to glean additional insights.
  • Security. Because of their function in the network, your organization must include edge devices in every security strategy up-front. Hackers can target devices that house high-value data, so you must have a plan to protect them.
  • Automation. Edge devices or edge monitoring software should include automation features to help IT staff execute monitoring and maintenance activities. For example, automated processes can regularly move data from a device to a central database, provision resources to devices or register devices.
  • Backup and disaster recovery. Ensure your current disaster recovery and backup processes account for the edge devices in your network. Neglecting these devices can lead to significant financial and legal losses.

AWS IoT Services

Several software applications can help your organization better manage edge devices. AWS offers a suite of IoT software options that can help an organization build, deploy, manage and secure edge devices. Some of AWS' edge device management offerings include:

  • Greengrass, a software that runs on edge devices and enables local processing, messaging, data management and secure network connectivity;
  • IoT Core, a communications software that connects devices to the network without external servers or other network devices;
  • IoT Device Defender, a standalone security monitoring software to securely connect and protect edge devices;
  • and IoT Device Management, a full-service IoT device monitoring software application that registers, organizes, monitors and remotely manages edge devices.

You can check pricing pages for each application or reach out to the vendor for pricing information.

EdgeX Foundry

Another edge device management platform is EdgeX Foundry. EdgeX Foundry acts as a two-way transformation engine between edge devices and business applications, whether those applications live in the data center or the cloud. Foundry offers one main service relevant to edge device management called System Management Agent.

System Management Agent acts as the main communication hub between various edge devices and the data center, enabling two-way communication between system and management for requests such as status checks, performance metric requests or requests to start or stop a service. Essentially, it facilitates the larger management systems a network may have

Because it's open source, EdgeX Foundry is free to download and use.

FNT Command

FNT Command is a modular system that enables you to manage, control, secure and support infrastructure assets across multiple environments and configurations. FNT Command for IT Management helps you optimize the interaction of devices across your network, and FNT Command for Networks, Connectivity & Communication Services integrates management activities and information across your network. It collects information on your devices and resources and provides resource analytics to help you analyze and optimize resources.

FNT offers a range of pricing options for organizations, including purchase, license, lease or SaaS arrangements.

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