We’ve entered an age where users don’t just prefer near-instantaneous performance, they expect it. Nowadays, digital channels are delivering content faster than ever before. Consider how streaming platforms and other cloud-based solutions enable users to have immediate access to images, videos and content.
In fact, one study found that nearly half of all consumers (47 percent) expect online content to load in a mere 2 seconds or less. In this “age of instant everything,” organizations and providers are shifting their approaches to enable faster and faster delivery times, and one of the results is an increase in modular, edge data centers.
Bringing the network to the edge
As Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Thomas Goepel explained in an article for CIO, organizations increasingly require a smaller, on-premise data center to ensure that demands can be met at the edge.
“We don’t even like waiting a few extra seconds for data to travel from the core data center to our digital devices,” Goepel wrote. “This expectation for ‘instant everything’ is driving a change in where data resides, a shift from the data center to the edge.”
These modular, edge data centers aren’t your typical environment, though: They can include everything from industrial facilities situated in deep forests to oil rigs off the coast, commercial air cockpits and even a storage closet at a remote or branch office site. Essentially, they can be anywhere that requires an improved connection to support more efficient use of IT systems. These locations are now playing host to small, edge data centers to enable users to have the quick and seamless performance they now expect.
Addressing edge data center challenges
Interestingly, this type of on-site data center was more popular before the advent of the cloud, when organizations had to host their own servers and IT assets on their own premises. Now it seems these edge, modular centers are back, but bring with them new challenges, including those related to:
- Right-sizing: Scalability was one of the big reasons many enterprises offloaded their on-prem workloads to the cloud, thereby providing them the opportunity to reduce their on-site tech footprint and save on utilities and other costs. As Goepel pointed out, right-sizing these resources is incredibly critical, particularly for smaller branch offices with tight IT budgets. While an edge data center may help speed performance and cut down on lag, it can also be an expensive endeavor if not properly scaled.
- Maintenance: Again, this was another reason many organizations opted for the cloud: to free their internal IT team from maintenance and upkeep tasks. Edge data centers require continuous maintenance to ensure their performance, creating additional work for internal staff.
- Data protection: Edge data centers also mean that internal personnel are in charge of ensuring data security. Any gaps in protection can create considerable risk for the enterprise, particularly when sensitive information is stored, accessed or transferred in and out of the edge environment.
Enabling instant everything
Despite these challenges, it is still possible for enterprises to take advantage of edge computing to support the fastest performance of their IT assets. However, a few key solutions and strategies must be implemented first.
This includes updating internal infrastructure with hyperconverged solutions that can specifically address the challenges of modular, edge data centers. Not only can hyperconvergence within the edge data center help organizations consolidate their assets, but these solutions can also support scalability and cost savings. One study from Enterprise Strategy Group found that a remote office with hyperconvergence in place achieved savings of 49 percent compared to their previous use of a traditional SAN.
“[H]yperconverged devices at all sites are part of the same federation and can be monitored and managed together from a single interface by an IT administrator without specialized training,” Goepel noted. “And multiple nodes protect data across the entire business, from core to edge, in case of a drive, node, cluster or site failure.”
In addition to the advantages that hyperconvergence can bring, enterprises should also deploy a robust infrastructure performance monitoring solution to enable in-depth visibility into the capacity and performance of all critical IT assets. This includes not only hyperconverged solutions, but other on-site servers, storage, database systems, SAN, and even the enterprise’s cloud solutions.
Such an advanced solution, like that provided by Galileo Performance Explorer, ensures that stakeholders always have the complete picture when it comes to their infrastructure. This type of technology also supports predictive analytics and intelligent notifications, enabling IT staff to address any performance hang-ups before they impact end-users.
With hyperconvergence and robust infrastructure performance monitoring, organizations can support needs for instant access, while also maintaining the continual health of their edge data center and other critical infrastructure.
To find out more about how an infrastructure performance monitoring solution can help you enable performance in the age of instant everything, connect with our Galileo Performance Explorer experts today.