Edge Computing is Key to Meeting Digital Transformation Demands – and Partnerships Can Help Deliver Them

Organizations in virtually every vertical industry are undergoing a digital transformation in an attempt to take advantage of edge computing technology to make their businesses more efficient, innovative and profitable. In the process, they’re coming face to face with challenges ranging from time to market to reliability of IT infrastructure.

It’s a complex problem, especially when you consider the scope of what digital transformation entails. “Digital transformation is not simply a list of IT projects, it involves completely rethinking how an organization uses technology to pursue new revenue streams, products, services, and business models,” as the research firm IDC says.

Companies will be spending more than $650 billion per year on digital transformation efforts by 2024, a CAGR of more than 18.5% from 2018, according to the research firm Market Research Engine.

The drivers behind all that spending include Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which involves collecting data from machines and sensors covering every aspect of the organization. That is contributing to Big Data – the treasure trove of data that companies mine to find the keys to efficiency, opportunity and more. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are crucial to that effort, helping companies make sense of the mountains of data they’re creating and consuming, and to find opportunities.

Requirements for Edge Computing

All of these trends are creating the need for more and more compute power and data storage. And much of it needs to be close to the source of the data, and to those employees who are working with it. In other words, it’s driving the need for companies to build edge data centers or edge computing sites.

Physically, these edge computing sites bear little resemblance to large, centralized data centers, but they have many of the same requirements in terms of performance, reliability, efficiency and security. Given they are typically in locations with few if any IT personnel, the data centers must have a high degree of automation and remote management capabilities. And to meet business requirements, they must be built quickly.

Answering the Call at the Edge

These are complex requirements, but if companies are to meet time-to-market goals and deal with the lack of IT personnel at the edge, they demand simple solutions.

One solution is integration. We’re seeing this already in the IT space, with vendors delivering hyper-converged infrastructure that combines servers, storage, networking and software that is tightly integrated and delivered in a single enclosure. This saves IT groups valuable time in terms of procuring and configuring equipment and makes it far easier to manage over the long term.

Now we’re seeing the same strategy applied to edge data centers. Prefabricated, modular data centers are an ideal solution for delivering edge data center capacity quickly and reliably. All the required infrastructure – power, cooling, racks, UPSs – can be configured and installed in a factory and delivered as a single, modular unit to the data center site (or multiple modules, depending on requirements).

Given they’re built in a factory under controlled conditions, modular data centers are more reliable over the long haul. They can be configured with management software built-in, enabling remote management capabilities and a high degree of automation. And they can be delivered in weeks or months, not years – and in whatever size is required, including small “micro” data centers.

Few companies, however, have all the components required to deliver a complete, functional data center, not to mention the expertise required to install and configure it. So, it takes effective partnerships to deliver complete edge data center solutions.

Tech Data Partnership Delivers at the Edge 

APC by Schneider Electric has a long history of partnering to deliver complete solutions that address customer needs. Of the thousands of partnerships it has established over the years, the 25-year partnership with Tech Data is particularly relevant for the digital transformation era.

Tech Data is a $36.8 billion, Fortune 100 company that has established itself as the world’s leading end-to-end IT distributor. Power and physical infrastructure specialists from Tech Data team up with their counterparts from APC to deliver innovative solutions, including modular and micro data centers. Many of these solutions are pre-certified by major alliance partners, including IBM, HPE, Cisco, Nutanix, Dell EMC and others.

To learn more, access the full story that explains how the Tech Data and APC partnership helps deliver Certainty in a Connected World and effective edge computing solutions that meet today’s time to market requirements.

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