Edge computing creates challenges not found within cloud computing or data centers. Spreading critical applications and data to the Edge introduces scale and performance challenges, which demand Edge environments function reliably and efficiently no matter how many instances are introduced.
Over the past few years, the business benefits of edge computing have become more evident. The meteoric developments in digital technologies have made Edge computing increasingly more potent, acceptable and more crucial to the success of businesses across industries.
With operations becoming more geographically distributed, IT operations teams are getting swamped with data from several thousand cloud infrastructure components and on-premise data centers. However, only an estimated 1% of the monitoring data is useful to derive business insights, such as predictions of forthcoming events or anomaly detection.
With insight generation and local processing, Edge computing can prevent the transmission of irrelevant data to the data centers or cloud and send only the relevant, actionable data that usually is a tiny sliver of the actual data.
Expanding Landscape for Applications
There is a general consensus on the value and the need for the Edge. It is reflected in the industry regardless of the uncertainty around how the move toward the last-mile of distributed networks unfolds, alongside the influx of private networks and IoT.
The advent of IoT and its networking potential began almost a decade ago, but businesses still face major roadblocks on the way to full-scale adoption. Potential IoT network issues can also create challenges with Edge computing, the central architecture that processes data closer to the source. But many businesses still view Edge computing as a potential threat due to security and adoption risks.
Given the edge deployment may be storing and processing sensitive corporate data, including personal and financial data, security is a significant concern, just as it is in a centralized data center.
Edge devices are generally small and not designed with security in mind. They often are the weakest link in the event of a cyber-attack. Most of these devices don’t warrant any authentication with third-party APIs. To speed up deployment and save costs, a lot of them don’t encrypt data natively. This means preventing unauthorized physical access to the device and protecting it from cyber-attacks is crucial.
Organizations also need ways to remotely monitor the devices so issues can be identified, alerts can be sent, and remediation can be done.
Accessibility and Operations
Managing Edge, the same way as a data center with different teams responsible for parts of the infrastructure, creates inefficiencies in support, skills, resources, costs, and business availability.
Edge applications sometimes also pose logistical difficulties in deploying human IT resources to manage them. Each remote Edge location needs multiple monitors to understand the health and status of each component. Organizations cannot have dedicated personnel to monitor and service each Edge location.
Merging edge computing applications and platforms into the existing cloud architecture is crucial for realizing the potential of Edge computing. It is the missing link and the middle layer between devices and cloud computing. The compute capability of edge nodes requires a well-performing, co-existing system between the cloud and the Edge.
With the increasing adoption and deployment of multi-cloud environments among businesses, establishing a redundant edge network to handle the data traffic from multiple nodes will be a challenge for the cloud. Most companies struggle with finding compliant solutions and cloud vendors that can accommodate the high bandwidth needs and redundant data reporting and routing requirements.
Still a Work in Progress
Before the enterprises deploy edge computing and open a floodgate of new devices in their network, they should have a smart performance monitoring platform to monitor every issue faced by remote applications.
With the roll-out of 5G, billions of devices will be communicating machine-to-machine. The addition of connected devices will be possible on an extraordinary scale. Hence, the reliability of Edge will always remain questionable without a monitoring platform in place, and this, in turn, will discourage edge adoption.