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Edge Devices: Bring the infrastructure to the data in the era of cloud

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While cloud computing increases in popularity, there is another valuable aspect of IT infrastructure that some organizations overlook: edge devices.

Located close to the source of data generation instead of in a centralized data center or cloud, edge devices offer unique advantages and can be a vital and transformative part of modern IT infrastructure. With AI becoming mainstream, the requirement for edge devices is growing.

Considering edge devices for your organization? Here’s what you need to know.

Life on the edge (of the network)

Edge devices are hardware that processes data at the “edge” of the network, near where data is generated, instead of in a centralized cloud or data center.

There are a wide range of edge devices: sensors, smart lights, surveillance equipment, robots, local servers, GPU servers for AI and more.

Essentially, edge devices allow you to bring the computing to the data instead of the data to the computing. They have unique requirements and unique advantages, but used well they can provide real-time decision making with AI, speed up increase security, performance, and scalability.

 

Improve decision making, performance, security & more

Edge devices can improve your IT infrastructure in many ways.

  • Support real-time decision making – Since you don’t need to transfer the data to a central location, edge devices reduce data latency and let you act on data faster. This is vital for applications where decisions need to be made in real time, or where connectivity is simply not possible (example out at sea).
  • Keep data secure – Edge devices handle sensitive data at its source. In addition to the many security features of edge devices, this also removes the need to transmit sensitive data, and the risk it could be intercepted during transmission.
  • Remain reliable in challenging settings – Edge devices can improve reliability and availability by operating independently. Well-built edge devices, like those from Lenovo, are designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions.
  • Scale easily – You can add or remove edge devices as needed without impacting your central infrastructure, which gives you the flexibility to handle growing or fluctuating data processing requirements.
  • Use resources efficiently – Edge devices are designed to be compact and power efficient, so they can operate in any location. They also significantly reduce bandwidth requirements by removing the need to transfer large amounts of data. All these factors can reduce resource costs.

 

Questions to ask before choosing edge computing

While edge devices can reduce costs, increase performance, and improve security in many situations, they aren’t right for every organization. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider introducing edge devices into your IT infrastructure.

Do we need data processed quickly?

Edge devices are ideal for applications that need real-time analytics, such as manufacturing automation, real-time traffic monitoring, and smart grid controls. They may not be the best choice if data analysis can be delayed.

Is connectivity limited or costly?

Remote areas where connectivity is unreliable or costly are perfect situations for edge computing. If connectivity is cheap and reliable, then it may be easier to transfer data to a central processor.

What volume of data are we working with?

If you have large amounts of data to process, it may be more efficient to process that data on the edge. This is especially true for bulky data types like video. If you have small amounts of data, edge devices may not be necessary.

What are the industry’s legal requirements for privacy and security?

Industries subject to strict data protection regulations, such as healthcare or finance, may be required to process and store data locally. Check your data security requirements to see whether edge devices could be required.

 

Edge devices: Rising with the cloud

While cloud computing and AI are becoming ever more popular, edge devices are rising in popularity right along with it. They play an essential role in IT infrastructure, especially in scenarios requiring quick data processing, enhanced security, and operational reliability.

Are you considering investing in edge technology?

R2i partners with Lenovo Edge to equip our clients with secure, efficient, and cost-effective edge devices that meet your unique needs. We can discuss options and considerations with you as you introduce edge computing. Contact an R2i expert now.
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