Delivering Highly Available Industrial Edge Computing Solutions ― Even in Ruggedized Environments

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With companies in nearly all industries in some state of digital transformation, they’re finding edge computing is increasingly required in areas of the business that once may have been considered unlikely places. They include dirty, dangerous, cold, and hot environments ranging from manufacturing facilities for consumer packaged goods and automotive companies to oil and gas platforms that may be in a remote desert or an off-shore rig.

industrial edge computing applications in factory

Increased need for reliable industrial edge computing

What they all have in common is a need for highly reliable edge computing solutions to drive powerful operations software, which companies have come to rely on to improve production, safety, and environmental metrics. These improvements drive the need for an edge computing infrastructure that doesn’t go down. The requirement is failure prevention, not failure recovery. An added benefit is better insight into and control of operations, in real-time.

These locations tend to have few, if any, IT staff on hand to deploy and maintain the infrastructure, further complicating the situation. In many cases, they’re also dealing with legacy computing equipment, which has neither the performance nor reliability that today’s operations applications require. Security and privacy are additional concerns, given the ever-present threat of cyber-attacks, not to mention the requirement for physical security.

These sites require simple, secure, highly available, powerful autonomous edge computing solutions that can be managed remotely. Many companies will be looking to deploy the same solution in many different locations, so the solution should also be standardized to simplify deployment and ongoing management.

A powerful partnership: Stratus Technologies and Schneider Electric

It is with these requirements in mind that Schneider Electric has partnered with Stratus Technologies to deliver complete, comprehensive, and proven edge solutions.

Stratus has long been synonymous with highly reliable computing — what’s known as “five nines,” or 99.999% uptime. Stratus also delivers simple to install and operate systems, with features such as zero-touch provisioning and hyperconverged infrastructure, which includes all requirements for compute, storage, and networking components in a single, integrated, edge computing platform. With its platforms, purpose-built for these industrial environments, Stratus bridges the gap between IT and operational technology (OT), integrating the advantages of both and ensuring the continuous availability of business-critical applications.

So, with Stratus you can be sure your compute infrastructure won’t go down — unless you lose power, which is where Schneider Electric comes in. Schneider, of course, has a long history of providing resilient power protection, including uninterruptible power supplies that cover virtually any application. Schneider also has a series of micro data center enclosures to house all the required compute and power protection infrastructure needed in an edge facility — including ruggedized versions suitable for industrial environments.

Reference designs cover AVEVA deployments

But the partnership doesn’t end there. Schneider and Stratus have also worked closely with the industrial operations software vendor, AVEVA, to detail the configuration required for the proper operation of its software on Stratus platforms and Schneider enclosures. These reference designs spell out the exact components and configuration required for a systems integrator or end user to quickly deploy a complete micro data center solution in an edge facility.

Reference designs cover security as well. The Stratus ftServer provides cybersecurity out of the box, with all core software and operating systems wrapped in a standard set of security protocols specific to the environment in which the server will live. Providing further protection, Schneider offers physical security on its enclosures, including locks and card readers, along with its NetBotz security and environmental monitoring capabilities.

The combination of Stratus, Schneider, and AVEVA enables companies to deploy powerful systems at industrial edge sites while getting the same sort of power and security protection they would in a data center.

Resilient edge computing for Industry 4.0

To learn more about addressing the unique edge computing requirements in an industrial environment, download white paper 287, “Industry 4.0: Minimizing Downtime Risk with Resilient Edge Computing.” You will gain insights on the best practices to build and maintain resilient edge computing sites.

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