10 Trends Affecting Digital Infrastructure & Operations: Edge Computing

Throughout history, Infrastructure and Operations was centered around building and managing self-contained data centers. During this time, however, new challenges became apparent as I&O leaders began to feel the need to leverage modern cloud services and external data centers to keep up with customer demands or internal needs. One prominent solution to this approach was the development of edge computing to build, maintain, leverage, manage, rent or secure millions of individual endpoints. 

Most I&O leaders predict that over 50% of enterprise data that is generated by 2022 will be created and processed outside of the data center or cloud. Edge computing allows for this shift by transforming the current ideation of traditional data center infrastructures or the cloud data centers where information is being collected. Instead, edge computing relies on large collections of decentralized, geographically distributed nano data centers to provide new ranges of applications and highly interactive use cases to deliver impressive results in real-time. 

Edge computing combines improved latency with economic factors like bandwidth costs and the value of data being processed. And, when a cloud or data center connection fails, people and connected technologies need to be able to continue working without hindrance. Although, implementing an edge computing strategy may be harder than infrastructure and operations organizations may think due to regulatory controls, data privacy concerns or country-based restrictions; however, early adopters are learning to navigate these pitfalls effectively and are pioneering this technology for new businesses to use every day. 

Perhaps the most common industry already implementing edge computing environments is manufacturing. Although not a new approach to manufacturing businesses that rely on site-specific computing, most of the edge computing success stories derive from industrial or operational technology use cases. Through these success stories, manufacturers have also found that no single vendor is capable of providing an end-to-end solution for edge computing and no single vendor will be useful in all edge computing use cases – making finding multiple vendors to patch together a framework critical. Some of the ways a business can identify a partner for their next edge project include verifying characteristics like: 

  • Highly customized uses for a variety of industries 
  • Consulting expertise available when required 
  • Skilled partners that can find opportunities and expand uses 
  • Proven experience in the deployment of multiple edge projects 

As edge computing continues to expand to new industries, Infrastructure and operations organizations will need to accurately identify the needs of a business to develop appropriate edge strategies or identify projects that may benefit from a transition to edge computing. While this new complexity may be seen as negative by I&O leaders, the diversity achieved will not only improve resilience but can open new pathways that can be exploited to meet organizational goals if approached and implemented properly. There is no denying that by investing in edge computing now, infrastructure and operations organizations will have the infrastructure and solutions needed to meet the growing demand for edge computing in the coming years.