Different organizations may have their own definition of Edge computing, opinions on where the Edge is, or what Edge architecture looks like. Yet, the essence of The Edge - putting processing power as close to where data is generated and used - creates the critical benefits of edge computing: reduced latency, more analytics and insights, open bandwidth, less storage costs, and full support of real-time, data-heavy applications: IoT, fast network technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, etc.
Cloud bandwidth is not designed to quickly process large amounts of data from modern, speed-focused applications. For instance with Edge, streaming video from a manufacturing floor is processed in real time, allowing for insightful reporting and quick decisions.
To support Edge Computing & architecture, all of the components found in a traditional data center are needed within an Edge infrastructure: compute/storage/network appliances, cable management, power distribution, climate control, monitoring and IT security, and fire suppression.
Selecting the right IT cabinets and accessories to secure and protect these investments is crucial. Not only does the location and potential risks need to be considered, planning for new equipment — scaling as the need grows — should prompt a discussion of future modification capabilities, something not all IT enclosure systems can do.
Building Scalability at The Edge
A key part of designing an Edge system is scalability. As recent years have taught us, the future is unpredictable. When Edge infrastructure includes a deployment design that is scalable and flexible, rapid changes can be made to support new technologies and applications. This includes IT enclosures that can be reconfigured for the wide variety of components and related accessories.
Modular IT enclosure solutions add even more scalability, so components can be rearranged and technology refreshed with minimal disruption of installed IT infrastructure. Premium modular enclosures, provided with common accessories pre-selected are provided with common accessories pre-installed — climate control, cable management, fire suppression, monitoring, UPS and PDU solutions. Pre-engineered configurations make it easy and efficient to grow the Edge installation.
Going hand-in-hand with scalability is repeatability. Many organizations that need Edge computing solutions also have multiple sites. To support the delivery of reliable Edge enclosures of consistent quality, IT cabinet manufacturers need a strong supply chain and a global presence.
From the origin of Edge computing to today’s IoT, Industry 4.0, and other data-rich applications, read how the use of Edge computing solutions has exploded and will continue to grow.
A top-to-bottom exploration of Edge data centers: optimization, operation, design, and implementation. See how to get maximum efficiency in a minimal space.
Maximizing Security at The Edge
Edge computing solutions are now required everywhere. Knowing that, security is vital, against both physical and cyberthreats. As the level of physical security increases, so does the ability to reduce the risk of some (but not all) cyberthreats. The level of IT enclosure security needed depends on where the Edge deployment is. A warehouse floor is much different than under a cell tower in a remote field.
Security can be maximized by selecting the right IT enclosure. Think of the physical protection and security offered by IT enclosures as the foundation of an Edge architecture, requiring a comprehensive plan. Fail-safe reliability starts at the enclosure level and expands out, considering potential threats along the way.
Proactive enclosure management, including active and automated monitoring, is also essential. The CMC III system from Rittal, performs real-time collection of environmental conditions, provides enhanced electronic access control, and, with on-board software and Ethernet connectivity, sends alarm notifications in real time, whether from one or multiple Edge installations.
Keeping IT systems safe at all times is the lifeblood of many businesses. Explore the many critical measures that help protect IT systems, for Edge computing solutions and any other deployment or data center.
This 2-part blog series covers overall security awareness, passive and active physical security, and new vulnerabilities. There is a data center physical security checklist and several IT cabinet security suggestions.
Optimizing Protection at The Edge
While it is easy to see why many organizations care about Edge computing, these deployments typically require additional protection to keep sensitive components working properly.
Protection starts by scrutinizing each unique installation location and what needs to be defended against. Depending on the deployment, there may be dozens of potential threats that could prevent an Edge computing solution from doing its job: water, dust, humidity, temperature extremes and changes, fire, smoke, gasses, electromagnetic interference, as well as vandalism or unauthorized access by the wrong people.
Remember the importance of cooling. That may seem obvious, but handling the heat generated by current and future IT equipment is no easy task. In fact, cooling makes both lists in this “Do’s and Don’ts of Edge Computing” article. As an example of the importance of cooling, a new generation of cooling units, the Blue e+, realizes energy savings of around 75%, creates ¾ fewer CO2 emissions, and increases service life of IT components.
Edge deployments’, often in tough and uncontrolled environments, present unique cooling challenges. See the keys to tackling the complexity of IT equipment cooling within Edge data centers.
Recognizing Disruptors at The Edge
What can disrupt the implementation of a data center? Supply chain issues must rank high on any modern list, severely challenging how quickly a static data center can be built (not to mention the cost). Two benefits of Edge computing are deployment speed and cost. A traditional installation may take 18-24 months versus 3-5 months for an Edge deployment, which can cost 20-30% less to build.
Data center space is more expensive than ever. When a small footprint is necessary, an Edge infrastructure often meets the demand. Plus, properly configured Edge systems can be designed to be grouped together or spread out among many remote locations. There are numerous costly mistakes to be made during Edge deployment planning. The more remote the installation, the greater the possibility of a mistake.
How to Best Use Rittal’s Standalone Solutions at The Edge
It is important to think of an Edge deployment as being self-contained and modular, and located wherever you can put a single, stand-alone footprint (maybe two). From the most remote deployment to the most local facility, the installation environment is likely challenging and even unpredictable. Conversely, traditional data centers are kept as stable as possible, plus they have dedicated facility resources and nearby support personnel.
An IT enclosure partner should be comfortable not only with Edge computing solutions, but also with advanced solutions, all necessary infrastructure, and management (from design through implementation). Rittal’s diverse experience provides the highest level of Edge expertise, including two climate control platforms.
For the single enclosure just about anywhere: Pre-engineered for unconditioned spaces, Rittal’s RiMatrix MDC standalone platforms protect valuable IT equipment by using closed-loop air conditioners, ranging in capacity from 1.3 to 5.8 kW.
For Edge/Spine data centers that exceed EAC’s capacities, choose Rittal’s Edge DX (EDX) platform. Designed for deployments that exceed the installation or heat removal capacities of the EAC standalone system, EDX uses the Rittal liquid cooling package (LCP DX), a row-based, refrigerant system providing flexible, scalable, and adaptable climate control. Starting with 1- or 2 enclosure deployments, in either closed-loop or open-loop airflow, EDX solutions can be scaled up to support multi-cabinet Edge deployments. And as with all Edge deployments in just about any space that is not a `traditional’ data center.
What is the Edge? What is it not? Who is using it? How can you maximize from it? The way we work, learn, and live has changed dramatically, especially in the past year. That shift has created a greater dependency on the Edge. Our webinar moves beyond the theoretical and looks at actual deployments.
Watch this on-demand webinar to learn more.
With many IT hardware manufacturers out there, selecting the right IT cabinets for Edge servers can seem confusing. As this important decision looms, review the basics to make a smart choice.