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Contributing Writer

3 Essentials for Achieving Resiliency at the Edge

Apr 02, 20193 mins
Data Center

Edge computing requires different thinking and management to ensure the always-on availability that users have come to demand.

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Credit: iStock

“The IT industry has done a good job of making robust data centers that are highly manageable, highly secure, with redundant systems,” says Kevin Brown, SVP Innovation and CTO for Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division.

However, he continues, companies then connect these data centers to messy edge closets and server rooms, which over time have become “micro mission-critical data centers” in their own right — making system availability vital. If not designed and managed correctly, the situation can be disastrous if users cannot connect to business-critical applications.  

To avoid unacceptable downtime, companies should incorporate three essential ingredients into their edge computing deployments: remote management, physical security, and rapid deployments.

Remote management

Depending on the company’s size, staff could be managing several — or many multiple — edge sites. Not only is this time consuming and costly, it’s also complex, especially if protocols differ from site to site.

While some organizations might deploy traditional remote monitoring technology to manage these sites, it’s important to note these tools: don’t provide real-time status updates; are largely reactionary rather than proactive; and are sometimes limited in terms of data output.

Coupled with the need to overcome these limitations, the economics for managing edge sites necessitate that organizations consider a digital, or cloud-based, solution. In addition to cost savings, these platforms provide:

  • Simplification in monitoring across edge sites
  • Real-time visibility, right down to any device on the network
  • Predictive analytics, including data-driven intelligence and recommendations to ensure proactive service delivery

Physical security

Small, local edge computing sites are often situated within larger corporate or wide-open spaces, sometimes in highly accessible, shared offices and public areas. And sometimes they’re set up on-the-fly for a time-sensitive project.

However, when there is no dedicated location and open racks are unsecured, the risks of malicious and accidental incidents escalate.

To prevent unauthorized access to IT equipment at edge computing sites, proper physical security is critical and requires:

  • Physical space monitoring, with environmental sensors for temperature and humidity
  • Access control, with biometric sensors as an option
  • Audio and video surveillance and monitoring with recording
  • If possible, install IT equipment within a secure enclosure

Rapid deployments

The benefits of edge computing are significant, especially the ability to bring bandwidth-intensive computing closer to the user, which leads to faster speed to market and greater productivity.

Create a holistic plan that will enable the company to quickly deploy edge sites, while ensuring resiliency and reliability. That means having a standardized, repeatable process including:

  • Pre-configured, integrated equipment that combines server, storage, networking, and software in a single enclosure — a prefabricated micro data center, if you will
  • Designs that specify supporting racks, UPSs, PDUs, cable management, airflow practices, and cooling systems

These best practices as well as a balanced, systematic approach to edge computing deployments will ensure the always-on availability that today’s employees and users have come to expect.

Learn how to enable resiliency within your edge computing deployment at