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Connecting the Dots - New Edge Infrastructures

Thursday, July 18, 2019 | by Danielle Russo

CTD Danielle

Latency and Security Concerns Drive Compute Power to the Edge

You don’t need to be an IT manager to know that data is exponentially growing worldwide.  Much of this data is sent to compute and store in the cloud.  However, latency and security are two requirements that are driving compute power closer to the point of use at the edge of a network.1 

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You may be wondering what some of the primary drivers of this influx of data are.  With the emergence of popular video-streaming services, Content Delivery Networks (or CDNs) have prevailed as a dominant delivery method.  Globally, 72 percent of all internet traffic will cross CDNs by 2022, up from 52 percent in 2016.3  For businesses, Cisco’s Global Network Index projects that Global Business IP traffic will grow 26 percent from 2017 to 2022,3 and Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index is forecasting that at least 50% of global GDP will be digitized by 2021.4 

When applications are migrated to the cloud, the internet bandwidth requirements to connect to those apps increase, and consequently, internet traffic on the Wide Area Network increases. The richer the content and features on the app, the higher the bandwidth requirements.

Not only has data usage been increasing over time, but speed and latency expectations have become more and more stringent.  In addition, some applications require a higher level of security than can be accomplished with an all-cloud architecture.  All these factors are driving IT system disaggregation and an increased need for edge computing.

Edge Computing Poses a New Set of Challenges for IT Managers

With a distributed IT architecture of many edge computing sites, IT administrators are encountering a new set of challenges they must manage.  Typically, many of these edge computing locations are in remote or distributed locations, without a dedicated IT staff member on-site.  Instead, the IT team must manage all these sites from a central location.

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In each location, the local edge site may be aggregating and processing many different data creation inputs, including video surveillance, access control, wireless access, power, cooling, and digital signage. In many cases, these racks are in a closet that was never intended to host an edge data center, albeit a wall cabinet or several rows of cabinets. 

Got Two Good Eyes, But We Still Don’t See

In many edge computing applications, an IT manager can’t “see” what is happening inside each rack or cabinet since they may be distributed among many sites across a region.  They lack vital visibility and control into the infrastructure spaces hosting their active equipment, without a dedicated on-site IT staff member to monitor and manage the system.  Because these installs are typically not in a purpose-built data center environment, security and access control becomes yet another parameter to manage.  Reliable delivery and backup of power is paramount, in addition to monitoring environmental conditions.  To summarize, IT managers are now faced with managing the following challenges in their edge infrastructure:

  • Visibility
  • Control
  • Security
  • Power
  • Environmental Conditions

 

Addressing Edge Computing Infrastructure Challenges with Networked Power

One simple solution addresses this list of concerns - to incorporate the use of networked power devices and accessories.  Specifying intelligent (or networked) power products into edge infrastructure allows you to kill several birds with one stone.  You satisfy your power needs while adding an intelligent control system which acts as an aggregation point for IoT devices within your rack or cabinet.  An intelligent power system in your edge infrastructure provides an IT manager the ability to remotely monitor and control their power, environmental conditions, access control, and setup alerts for critical conditions. 

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Let’s break it down in more tangible terms.  As stated before, an IT manager cannot visibly monitor the inner workings of edge cabinets due to their distribution across multiple locations, typically without on-site IT support.  However, including intelligent power products such as network switched power distribution units (PDUs) and remotely managed uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), you gain the ability to remotely monitor power usage, battery life, and environmental conditions via attached sensors.6,7 You also gain the ability to setup alerts for user-defined thresholds.  Another benefit is additional control of attached equipment, with the ability to cycle power at the outlet level.   Using integrated door locks, an IT manager can also control access into the cabinet or monitor user entry.  Each of these functions can be conveniently controlled - remotely - via the PDU or UPS graphical user interface (GUI). 

Networked Power Products Simplify Management of the Edge

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As the demands on IT staff push toward increased in efficiencies and a reduction in OPEX, it is crucial to leverage your edge infrastructure to optimize the control and management of the system.  Legrand offers simplified solutions, providing the intelligence and control you need for remote and distributed sites.  Full integration of multiple solutions can minimize the frequent IT service calls and help maintain critical uptime.  Ultimately, networked power products give you visibility, control, and security at your edge locations, increasing efficiency of your IT infrastructure while minimizing truck rolls. 

 

 

References:

1 Moneycontrol.com. “5 big challenges that edge computing can resolve.” https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/features-2/5-big-challenges-that-edge-computing-can-resolve-2566753.html

2 @LoriLewis and @OfficiallyChadd. 2019. “2019: This Is What Happens In An Internet Minute.” https://www.allaccess.com/merge/archive/29580/2019-this-is-what-happens-in-an-internet-minute

3 Cisco Visual Networking Index. “Forecast and Trends, 2017–2022 White Paper.” https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/white-paper-c11-741490.html

4 Equinix “Global Interconnection Index” https://www.equinix.com/global-interconnection-index-gxi-report/

 5 Anixter “Micro Data Center Solutions” Brochure. https://www.anixter.com/content/dam/anixter/resources/brochures/anixter-micro-data-center-brochure-en.pdf

6 Legrand Power Distribution Units https://www.legrand.us/markets-solutions/data-center-solutions/power-distribution-units.aspx

7 Legrand Uninterruptible Power Supplies https://www.legrand.us/markets-solutions/building-networks/uninterrupted-power-supply.aspx