Co-author: Jatin Raaj Bansal
Whenever we talk about trends in the telecom industry, Edge Computing is one of the most named technologies and rightly so! As per a research, by 2025, 75% of enterprise data will be processed at edge devices, compared to only 10% today. Edge computing brings the processing of computing resources closer as compared to traditional & cloud data centers, such that actions can take place in response to analysis of that data. This helps to reduce the latency substantially and decrease the demand for network bandwidth in addition to a host of other benefits. The edge device ecosystem is comprised of multiple components which majorly include cloud, edge devices, edge nodes, edge clusters and edge gateway. Each component works in tandem to enable edge functionalities.
With the many benefits of edge computing on one hand, there are also multiple challenges that make it important to discover the intricacies and eliminate them using advanced tools and technologies. One of the challenges being faced at large is managing a large amount of workload shift when incorporating edge computing and orchestrating it in an architecturally consistent manner. In addition to managing multiple workloads closer to location of activity, another difficulty arises while adopting a portability standard given the varied nature of workloads. Another major issue with bringing workloads closer pertains to edge security. Existing edge devices might not be able to match up to existing security standards due to their limited capabilities. Also, with the distributed nature of workloads, the security too becomes complex and relatively difficult to manage.
In an attempt to address the above-mentioned challenges and concerns, there is an overall architecture of the edge platform followed by enhancements to eliminate difficulties. In the initial section, we touched upon the different key components of an edge platform. A high-level functionality of these key components has been stated below –
- Edge Device: This piece of equipment is instilled with compute capacity integrated into the device
- Edge Node: An edge node is the junction at which the compute activity gets performed. It is a generic way of mentioning about an edge device/server/gateway
- Edge Cluster/Server: It constitutes a general IT computer in a remote operations location and has storage capacity. It is leveraged to run enterprise application workloads and services
- Edge Gateway: On top of the edge cluster, an edge gateway performs additional functions to host workloads. It can also carry out network functions.
With a foundation of edge computing architecture, the below diagram will help visualize these for improved comprehensibility:
Figure 1: 6-Layered Edge Computing Architecture
Following the above-mentioned base understanding, enhancements and additional technology integrations can help create a robust edge platform. This integrated platform which addresses multiple use cases is the Edge in a BOX solution. The following use cases are taken into consideration for curating the integrated solution –
- Integrated data analytics and machine learning
- End-to-end edge security
- Hybrid cloud models integration
- Remote device management & monitoring
- Hardware resource management
An overview of the platform & its components have been shared below for reference & visualization:
Figure 2: Edge Devices Management Technology Framework
In addition to the commonly known benefits such as faster speed of operations, network scalability and low latency, an integrated architecture will help provide enhanced security and greater reliability. It will support an all-in-one methodology for multiple API integrations, flexible storage along with IoT & AI enablement for ease of operations and creating a connected ecosystem. Edge is being seen as a pivotal component of cost saving strategy among leading service providers. It is proving to be a resource of supreme importance and continues to be a major focus for CIOs and CTOs. The plethora of benefits that it offers only strengthens the idea that it is the need of the hour.