How an Ecosystem of Partners can Help with Your Next Edge Computing Project

ecosystem of partners and edge computing

As IT infrastructure evolves, operators find themselves supporting a broad mix of cloud, colocation, on-premise, and regional and local edge data centers. For the IT staff that manages these diverse environments, streamlining and simplifying the ongoing technology acquisition, delivery, and support processes is a constant challenge. This is particularly true of edge computing environments, where the exponential growth of data drives the need for much more robust support across hundreds and sometimes thousands of micro data center edge sites.

According to a recent IDC survey[1], the two top concerns of IT professional respondents include how to manage edge computing infrastructure at scale (38% of respondents) and how to secure edge infrastructures (35% of respondents). Typically, little or no onsite technical support is available in many edge locations. Yet uptime and security at these sites are top of mind as the edge data being processed becomes more critical.

Customers who manage edge systems are expecting the same level of service-oriented support they have traditionally received in their centralized corporate data centers. This includes the need for systems to be protected and resilient with redundancy and physical security built-in as part of the edge system solution. In many cases, sophisticated power and cooling architectures are also needed to help to maintain 24×7 uptime. In addition, management and monitoring are required to allow for smooth and predictable operations. However, until recently, few of these support mechanisms existed at the edge.

Fortunately, the vendor community has responded to these edge computing needs by redefining processes for edge site solution configuration, delivery, and support. As a result, an  “ecosystem of partners” approach has emerged that shields customers from edge system implementation and support complexity. This ecosystem of partners consists of server manufacturers, rack, power, and cooling infrastructure solution providers, systems integrators, IT solution providers, and distributors − both local and remote. They work as virtual teams to handle business requirements analysis, solution identification, accommodation of unique edge environments, and delivery and deployment planning.

Edge computing critical success factors that reduce risks

When these various partners join together to support IT professionals in their quest for predictable, one-stop-shop edge implementations, each player brings a different set of value-added support to the project. For example, a large global retailer recently worked with a team of vendors consisting of Schneider Electric (for rack enclosures, UPS, and remote monitoring), and various local third parties (for installation and maintenance) to deploy a standardized solution across retail stores in Europe, North America, and Japan. The retailer was able to leverage this edge team to successfully roll out edge sites, which are improving their overall customer experience and operational efficiencies.

Critical elements that drive a successful ecosystem of edge implementations include:

IT/OT integration

In many cases, both the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) devices − like uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), power distribution units (PDU), and cooling devices − that make up the collaborative edge solution are pre-loaded, pre-tested, and pre-integrated before they are delivered to the customer site. As a result, the customer benefits from minimal disruption to their operations as installers initialize the system so edge data processing work can begin at or near the time of delivery.

Remote monitoring

Edge computing solutions should come equipped with remote monitoring capability to provide visibility across distributed IT sites. Look for partners involved in edge deployments who offer solutions for remote monitoring and services. Ideally, they should be able to assess the needs of the edge site to enable remote monitoring and management of assets throughout their life cycle.

Maintenance and support

In addition to monitoring, edge computing environments require unique coverage if parts of the edge solution need repair or replacement. Schneider Electric works with its ecosystem of partners to provide a flexible coverage model that can address the requirements of remote locations. Innovative edge software enables these local partners to build their edge service models. Stock depots are also placed in strategic locations to ensure local service providers can quickly deliver and install the needed spare parts to maintain maximum uptime.

Access White Paper on Succeeding with Edge Computing

An edge-focused ecosystem of partners is designed to make it easier for businesses to implement edge deployments by offering validated, turnkey solutions that bring peace of mind. With a framework of governance and coordination in place, end users are assured of a core of partners that can respond to their edge computing system uptime and security requirements throughout the life cycle of their edge assets.

To learn more about best practices for deploying and managing edge computing sites, access this new white paper from IDC, “Succeeding at Connected Operations with Edge Computing.[2]

 

[2] Ibid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.