What You Should Look for in an Edge Computing Infrastructure Management Solution

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This blog post is part of a series focused on edge computing infrastructure management best practices. Access other blog posts in the series:

Blog Post #1: Four Considerations for Managing Edge Computing Systems as Critical Assets

Organizations across a variety of vertical markets are undergoing digital transformation with the goal of making their businesses more efficient, innovative, and profitable. For many, edge computing technology is being used to drive this change. According to Market Research Engine, 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.

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The edge computing piece of digital transformation poses a new set of challenges. One of the biggest areas of concern is how these sophisticated systems can be managed when no one on-site possesses the expertise needed to provide local support. When evaluating tools for managing edge infrastructures, stakeholders need to consider the elements that will serve as the key lynchpins of implementation and operational success:

  • Vendor reputation and credibility  big data and IoT trends are attracting countless companies to the edge infrastructure management market. Customers are not lacking options from both small and large vendors. When evaluating the vendor solutions, look for companies that are knowledgeable in both the areas of Information Technology (IT), Operations Technology (OT), and also in the industry segments where the edge systems are to be located (like manufacturing sites, warehouses, retail stores, healthcare clinics, among others). In this way, the vendor can provide the user with an ecosystem of partners that is deep enough to integrate the various parts and pieces of the edge solution. Also, assess the viability and longevity of the vendor. A solid track record usually indicates a higher likelihood of remaining in business for the long run. And, if a management solution is needed to provide visibility across multiple sites and geographical regions, seek out a vendor with a truly global presence.
  • Product functionality — unless you are required to by regulation, you should always consider a cloud-based edge management system over an on-premise alternative. Cloud-based solutions allow for easier deployment, more robust analytics, benchmarking, and more consistent infrastructure health assessments. Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud-based edge management solutions present several advantages. Subscribing to a service rather than purchasing licenses of software allows the user the flexibility to pull the plug without sacrificing return on investment should business requirements change. Smart vendors realize that control in this situation is in the hands of the user, and push harder to drive customer satisfaction every day. While the sticker price of a SaaS solution could be higher than licensed software, keep in mind the tasks that are being pushed back to the vendor — firmware upgrades, security patches, hosting, and redundancy, to name just a few. The management solution should also be scalable and vendor agnostic. Critical edge infrastructure is composed of equipment from a range of manufacturers so the management solution should work well with third-party hardware and software components.
  • Available local support — most edge computing environments are not afforded the luxury of on-site or nearby IT support staff. While an edge infrastructure management solution can indicate when something is wrong or about to go wrong, a human is still needed to physically go to the site to repair or replace equipment. Ask the vendor about the support they provide and if their team is present in those geographies where edge assets are located. In addition, support from systems integrators is important if the vision for the edge solution is to have the information it gathers feed into other systems. When selecting a management solution, ask about the openness of the solution towards other key platforms and tools.
  • Security and privacy — as the data generated by edge systems becomes more critical, the security of the edge infrastructure management solution plays a critical role. When evaluating edge management systems, ask the vendor to describe the security measures that have been taken in the development of the tool. Is there two-factor authentication? Do they maintain high encryption standards? Equally important is to establish whether the solution ensures data privacy. Potential end-users need to understand how the edge data will be transported and stored, how sensitive corporate data and personal data can remain confidential, and whether or not the solution is compliant with regional and/or national privacy mandates such as the European General Data Protection Regulation.

Access Edge Computing Management eGuide

Learn how an edge infrastructure management solution can help you manage and optimize your small, medium, and/or large enterprise IT deployments by accessing the Buyer’s Guide to Edge Infrastructure Management Solutions.

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