Now that edge computing has emerged as a major trend, the question for enterprises becomes how to migrate the data center management expertise acquired over many years to these new, remote environments.
Enterprise data centers have long provided a strong foundation for growth. They enable businesses to respond more quickly to market demands. However, this agility is heavily dependent on the reliability and manageability of the data center. As data center operational complexity increases, maintaining uptime while minimizing costs becomes a bigger challenge.
In order to maintain a high level of resiliency, existing data center best practices must now be exported to the emerging edge computing environments. In edge settings, reliability and manageability are by no means assured. The majority of workers located in edge environments (think retail store clerks, for example) lack data center or IT experience. Yet edge IT environments have a direct impact on corporate profitability (think of a retail outlet whose cash registers and promo displays go down in the middle of the holiday shopping rush). A new way of thinking is necessary to ensure edge sites are properly managed and business agility is maintained.
The Administrative Challenge of Edge Computing
As compute power and storage are now found near a hospital bed, an off-shore oil rig, or on a factory floor, real-time decisions need to be made within a secure environment where latency is not tolerated.
Within just one global enterprise, potentially thousands of edge sites will require solutions that can help maintain application uptime and data integrity. Unlike the more centralized data center business models, on-site administrators are often not available to support edge environments. The key to addressing this challenge is to deploy tools capable of performing remote management and predictive maintenance.
New Technology Innovations for Edge Data Center Management
Fortunately, new technology innovations are now making it possible to capture the expertise needed to support the edge environments. One example of this technology is the micro data center. These prepackaged blocks of processing, storage, power and cooling are often shipped to end users fully integrated, pre-configured, pre- assembled, and pre-tested. They can begin working as soon as they are delivered and plugged in. New tools are also now available to gain the necessary management control of these distributed data centers. For example, Schneider Electric’s cloud-based EcoStruxure IT infrastructure management software enables remote administrators to monitor critical micro data center performance details like temperature, humidity, and available backup battery runtime. These new hardware and software solutions are ensuring the availability of data center systems, regardless of remote location.
Such tools also enable predictive maintenance (knowing in advance that a particular component is likely to fail). This new level of system and component monitoring allows large retail outlets, for example, to avoid unplanned downtime. Parts can be replaced during off-hours before any failure or missed sales occur.
To learn more about how micro data centers and remote support software can help support new edge computing environments, download the Schneider Electric white paper “Why Cloud Computing is Requiring us to Rethink Resiliency at the Edge” or view this short video on data center resiliency.