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Can Edge Computing Help Resolve Our Top Network Challenges?

Level 11

By Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering

Here’s an interesting article from my colleague Mav Turner. He offers a good overview of edge computing and offers suggestions on overcoming challenges. I like the idea of using technology like this to reduce latency.

Edge computing has become a critical enabler for successful cloud computing as well as the continued growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Edge computing does come with its own unique challenges, but the advantages far outweigh the challenges.

What Is Edge Computing?

To understand why edge computing is so important, let’s first look at cloud computing for government agencies, which is fast becoming a staple of most agency environments.

One of the primary advantages of cloud computing is the ability to remove a vast amount of data and processing out of the agency—off-premises—so the federal IT pro no longer has to spend time, effort, and money maintaining it.

Logistically, this means agency data is traveling hundreds or thousands of miles back and forth between the end-user device and the cloud. Clearly, latency can become an issue. Enter edge computing, which essentially places micro data centers at the “edge” of the agency network. These micro data centers, or edge devices, serve as a series of distributed way stations between the agency network and the cloud.

With edge devices in place, computing and analytics power is still close to end-user devices—eliminating the latency issue—and the data that doesn’t have to be processed immediately is routed to a cloud data center at a later time. Latency problem solved.

Overcoming Edge Computing Challenges

The distributed nature of edge computing may seem to bring more complexity, more machines, greater management needs, and a larger attack surface.

Luckily, as computing technology has advanced, so has monitoring and visualization technology to help the federal IT pro realize the benefits of edge computing without additional management or monitoring pains.

Strategizing

Start by creating a strategy; this will help drive a successful implementation.

Be sure to include compliance and security details in the strategy, as well as configuration information. Create thorough documentation to standardize your hardware and software requirements.

Be sure patch management is part of the security strategy. This is an absolute requirement for ensuring a secure edge environment, as is an advanced security information and event management (SIEM) tool that will ensure compliance while mitigating potential threats.

Monitoring, Visualizing, and Troubleshooting

Equally important to managing edge systems is monitoring, visualization, and troubleshooting.

Monitoring all endpoints on the network will be a critical piece of successful edge computing management. Choose a tool that not only monitors remote systems, but provides automated discovery and mapping, so the federal IT pro has a complete understanding of all edge devices.

Additionally, be sure to invest in tools that provide full infrastructure visualization, so the federal IT pro can get a complete picture of the network at all times. Add in full network troubleshooting to be sure the team can monitor its entire infrastructure as well.

Creating a sound edge computing implementation strategy and using the right tools to monitor and manage the network will ease the pains and let the benefits of edge computing be fully realized.

Find the full article on Government Technology Insider.

The SolarWinds trademarks, service marks, and logos are the exclusive property of SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

11 Comments
smttysmth02gt
Level 13

Thanks for the article!

graeme.brown
Level 11

interesting but sometimes I get the impression that placing data in multiple places is a good way to circumvent security. Basically put,  the more places you have your data the more places t\here are to get at it. think about a bank that puts it's money in various Waystations for faster access... if it was your money, would you want that or would you rather be safer for a little les convenience (speed).  just a thought.

jkump
Level 15

I was thinking about latency and bandwidth requirements for Hybrid and/or the Cloud.  I too was thinking that multiple copies of data could increase security vulnerabilities.  But, I do like the concept of having some data available anywhere anytime (thanks to the Cloud) and the security of having processing of such data performed on-prem.  I think this concept will need some future thought and development.

Thanks for the post!!!

Jfrazier
Level 18

this is where devices such as the riverbed appliances come in handy, they cache things such as files at the edge such that the most common ones are closer to where they need to be.  In a past life we used them to cache MSDS files at the edge of each branch (worldwide) so that we didn't have to transmit the same datasheets over and over.  Not only did it save bandwidth, if compromised there was no important data to be revealed.

Edge computing with important customer data and PII data or anything secret or higher should be a bad thing.  It provides more exposure to hacking as now your data is all over the place.

df112
Level 13

It's been interesting to see how the edge computing concept has evolved over the years.  We used to use Inktomi cache boxes at the edge before the advent of distributed cloud.  Now we're starting to see it done with applications and enterprise data. Like most things there is always a price to pay with increased complexity. Thanks for the post.

brianj
Level 12

If I access a file on a local file server, I get a lock on that file. I wonder what happens if two people in different locations edit the same file at about the same time.

amore1329
Level 9

Food for thought...

rschroeder
Level 21

Edge computing may solve some problems, but cannot solve all.  The trick is identifying if it can solve ANY problems, or determining if it is simply another new buzz phrase, a band wagon on which the early adopters will jump and the Luddites deride.

bobmarley
Level 15

Thanks for the write up

david.botfield
Level 13

Thanks for the article.

fmasotti
Level 12

that's right. very interesting post.