How Edge Computing Creates New Opportunities for IT Solution Providers

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Today’s data center landscape represents a broad patchwork of processing hub architectures that embrace both centralized and distributed approaches. Analysts often coin the term “hybrid” to describe this mix of cloud and colocation data centers, on-premise enterprise data centers, as well as local and regional edge data centers. The edge computing portion of this hybrid model is growing quickly and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future.

According to Grand View Research, the value of the global edge computing market reached $3.5 billion in 2019. That growth is expected to exceed $43 billion, by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of over 37 percent. These numbers indicate a major change in the way data is being captured, analyzed, processed, stored, and transmitted. As the hybrid IT environment continues to expand, customers will be required to skillfully and simultaneously manage cloud, edge, and traditional on-premise data centers.

The edge computing phenomenon is characterized by many pockets of compute power that are geographically dispersed and networked to each other that are expected to function with little to no on-site IT staff. Many customers lack the sufficient in-house resources to directly manage all of these areas with existing staff, and they actively seek support from knowledgeable managed service providers (MSP).

The edge computing trend is driven by an explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) data. As this data proliferates across industries and as governments more strictly mandate how data is managed, stored, and protected, organizations are migrating some workloads from the cloud to the edge. This is particularly relevant for applications that require low latency and high bandwidth — retail, healthcare, and manufacturing environments are good examples of where real-time data is needed to make immediate, informed decisions.

edge computing guide

IT Solution Providers Positioned for Edge Computing Support

In order to fully support edge computing environments, IT solution providers will need to work with equipment providers to access solutions that enable remote troubleshooting and that provide visibility to systems performance and operations. As the hybrid IT model evolves, IT solution providers, acting as a key support lynchpin, will also have to evolve. This evolution will require a business strategy that shifts from a traditional, hardware-driven sales process to one where managed services function as significant revenue generators.

Customers increasingly require their IT solution providers to deliver worry-free edge solutions that experience minimum downtime. Many want a “set it and forget it” option. In order to accommodate such system uptime expectations at the edge, IT solution providers need to provide remote monitoring and maintenance services. Those services have to be delivered remotely because it is physically impossible to staff the vast majority of edge sites. Such environments create a tailor-made opportunity for MSPs, who have extensive expertise in remote monitoring and management services.

As the business criticality of the various edge systems grows, resources and technologies are needed to mirror the support services that customers have grown accustomed to in their traditional, on-premise data centers. They also require a similar level of resiliency (see APC white paper “Why Cloud Computing is Requiring us to Rethink Resiliency at the Edge”).

IT Solution Providers Who Leverage an Ecosystem of Partners Come Out the Winners

IT solution providers need innovative tools to manage these environments on behalf of their customers. Critical to their success will be clear visibility to edge assets and an ecosystem of partners and vendors who can supplement their efforts to maintain uptime across the hybrid IT landscape.

Without the right support systems in place, managing these highly distributed sites will be difficult. This is where systems such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxureTM IT platform can help. This platform can remotely monitor edge systems and the disparate components that make up these hybrid IT infrastructures, regardless of manufacturer brand. Using a combination of software, services, and analytics, EcoStruxure IT is also capable of performing predictive maintenance, indicating to technicians when various components within the edge system are showing signs of distress. An IT solution provider that manages edge systems can use EcoStruxure IT as a stand-alone solution, or integrated via API into their service platform to resolve maintenance issues before they result in significant downtime.

For many customers, micro data centers are also emerging as a technology of choice for edge implementations. These pre-assembled and pre-tested solutions with integrated remote monitoring capabilities simplify what would otherwise be a complex integration of IT and physical infrastructure parts and pieces. For the IT solution provider who wishes to support such systems, collaborative coordination between the product manufacturers, systems integrators, and distributors involved becomes a critical success factor. Working with partners like Schneider Electric, who understand all facets of how the micro data center solution supply chain works, can result in a significant competitive advantage. Solutions are delivered faster, perform better, and are easier to manage and support.

How to Expand your Footprint in the Edge Computing Market

The new hybrid IT environment along with edge management solutions presents a key growth opportunity for IT solution providers. To begin capitalizing on this new business growth, become a trusted advisor by attaining APC Software and Digital Services Certification and deliver more value to your customers. Access the training at the APC by Schneider Electric Partner Portal, under “My Programs.” Not yet registered? Join the APC Partner Program and start growing your business today!

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