Success with Edge Computing: MSPs Must Manage Customer Sites

As edge computing sites sprout across the IT landscape to handle IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence) applications, organizations are facing performance and management challenges.

Eventually companies will have hundreds and thousands of these sites, and if they are not deployed and managed in a consistent manner, the challenges will get even tougher as described in this video.

Businesses typically don’t have the staff to manage edge computing sites, nor do they always have the expertise to run the applications at those sites. As there has been a trend to reduce IT headcount in recent years, businesses will look to managed service providers (MSPs) for help. Edge computing sites have to be remotely monitored and managed, so they’re tailor-made for the managed services model.

This opens opportunities for providers to increase hardware revenue and managed services offerings by expanding their customer base and share of wallet with existing customers. To seize the opportunity, MSPs should take advantage of solutions to optimize availability and performance at edge computing sites. These solutions help MSPs with three imperatives:

  • Deploy physically secure sites
  • Make deployments standardized and redundant
  • Remotely manage the sites

Physical Security at Edge Computing Sites

Physical security traditionally hasn’t received much attention from MSPs, but that will need to change as edge computing grows. It should be the starting point of cybersecurity discussions with customers.

Physical security solutions are ideal for edge computing deployments because they deliver:

  • Physical space monitoring through sensors that track room temperature and humidity, as well as water and smoke
  • Control over who can access the space, keeping unauthorized individuals away from restricted equipment rooms and buildings
  • Supervision of the environment with audio and video

Monitoring the physical space is key to a robust edge computing deployment. Consider what happened to a major airline in 2017: A worker who accidentally shut off a power supply caused a 15-minute outage of the booking system. It took three days to restore normal operations. This affected 75,000 passengers, caused a £150 million in customer compensation and £400 million plunge in devalued company stock.

Standardized Deployment- A Must for Edge Computing Sites

One of the biggest challenges of edge computing deployments is consistency. If the sites are deployed in ad hoc fashion, they will be less reliable and a nightmare to manage, which is why MSPs will have to standardize installations. This will save time and money for customers, while accelerating deployment and simplifying management for MSPs.

MSP partners can standardize infrastructure deployments with the following solutions:

  • Pre-integrated solutions that include everything an edge computing site needs, including PDUs, racks and security. Pre-assembled at the factory, these solutions are shipped to partners for installation.
  • Pre-configured solutions with reference designs covering components, services and software in a traditional, converged or hyper-converged box. Some assembly on site is required.
  • Configure-to order solutions consisting of standard products configured by the partner or customer based on specifications for a particular site.

Remote Management to Minimize Downtime

Remote management is the third imperative MSPs must address in edge computing strategies. Remote capabilities simplify management, improve troubleshooting and minimize downtime. MSPs benefit as a result of increased service revenue, gaining insight into the customer infrastructure and automated lead generation.

MSPs should look for solutions with cloud-based secure management capabilities that deliver critical proactive notifications, RMM (remote management and monitoring) integrations, easy setup and automatic firmware upgrades. In addition, they’ll want to leverage vendor-agnostic monitoring across all their customers’ deployments to manage the complete infrastructure and collect data-driven insights.

Access Edge Computing Resources

Remote monitoring increases customer intimacy and provides Certainty in a Connected World, while creating revenue streams and new business opportunities. As edge computing deployments expand, customers need MSPs to understand and manage the complexities of technologies such as IoT and AI. Learn about the technology and edge computing resources you need to succeed in supporting reliable edge computing solutions for your customers.

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