Top 10 Questions to Ask Vendors When Selecting an Edge Computing Infrastructure Management Solution

meeting to discuss edge computing management options

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

Blog Post #2: What You Should Look for in an Edge Computing Infrastructure Management Solution

Ever go through the experience of buying a new device that looked great on the web, but that fell short of your expectations when you tried to use it? I recently lived through this experience when buying a fitness tracker to monitor my activity, heart rate, and sleep. While the wearable device looked great on my wrist, the integration with my phone left a lot to be desired. The result? I was only getting part of the value I expected from the purchase, and the fitness tracker spends more time in a drawer than on my wrist.

In business, where technology purchases can run into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the business impact can be millions, picking the wrong solution is simply not an option. Before making any decision, you must first perform the proper due diligence and research. Unfortunately, unlike in the consumer world, reliable third-party reviews are not always available.  Let’s review how stakeholders who face the challenge of selecting a technology can perform proper due diligence by using an example of a remote management environment for their edge computing implementations.

As new edge technologies gain traction, the market is becoming flooded with an assortment of copy-cat and would-be vendors whose untested or repurposed products may fall short of your expectations. To initiate proper due diligence, you should start by vetting vendors to find those that have a strong financial standing and a global geographic presence, because these are the ones who are likely to remain in business over the long-term. The right vendor should have access to a robust ecosystem of partners, which is critically important in our edge example, where solutions often consist of many different parts and pieces that need to be properly integrated and managed and can be distributed over a wide geographic area.

Guide to edge computing infrastructure management solutions

Due Diligence Considerations for Edge Computing Management Systems

When evaluating and selecting remote management systems for edge environments, the process should not only determine if the proposed system fulfills some core basic needs, but should also consider what might happen if you DON’T have a particular functionality in place.  This is especially relevant in edge computing environments where, typically, no technicians are available on site to support and maintain the systems.

Below is a list of the top 10 questions to ask both internal IT teams and vendors when performing due diligence surrounding edge remote management systems:

  1. How can we check the status of all our remote critical infrastructure devices or sites?
  2. When are we notified if our distributed critical infrastructure devices or sites are experiencing a problem?
  3. Who do we have on site to support these devices in case of a failure?
  4. How are we informed of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities as they arise?
  5. How complicated will it be for us to remotely upgrade our equipment or to apply the latest security fixes? (Can we work through a single user interface?)
  6. Do we have a centralized team that can monitor our critical edge infrastructure 24/7?
  7. Does our internal team have the skills and the bandwidth to maintain our edge infrastructure?
  8. How fast will it take us to recognize potentially problematic edge equipment performance trends?
  9. How much time do we need to resolve an incident when an IT equipment failure occurs?
  10. What amount of effort is required to produce relevant management reports on our edge system performance?

Include Proof of Concept and Deployment Planning as Part of the Process

A vendor that stands behind its products should have no problem allowing potential buyers to test-drive those products. No customer should pass up the opportunity to use the product on a pilot basis. A trial run can turn up issues that were not evident in a solution demo or identified in your research findings. It is also worthwhile to ask for references, specific to your industry, or to the nature of your project, if possible.

Once the due diligence of vendors and their solutions phase is complete, the actual deployment plan needs to be executed. As with any new technology, edge infrastructure management deployments should be staged in increments, scaling and making changes along the way to achieve the best possible results.

For example, deploying a tool such as Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT Expert – a vendor agnostic, real-time monitoring solution with assessment, instant fault notification and escalation functions – can be phased in at different times. You can then determine whether those pieces are best managed internally or managed by one of the vendor’s ecosystem of partners like the broad network of Schneider Electric Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

Platforms such as Gartner Peer Insights can also help stakeholders to access end user published ratings and reviews of key technologies (such as the recently released EcoStruxure IT Expert peer reviews).

Access Edge Computing Infrastructure Management Solutions eGuide

For more information on how to map business requirements to edge computing management infrastructure solutions, access our Buyer’s Guide to Edge Infrastructure Management Solutions.

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