In their report “How to Overcome Four Major Challenges in Edge Computing,” published earlier this year, Gartner stated that they believe “Through 2022, 50% of edge computing solutions that worked as proofs of concept (POCs) will fail to scale for production use.” This can be attributed to the wide variety of possible edge computing use cases, and the fact that many organizations are just starting their first implementations not fully realizing the depth of integration required across multiple systems within the enterprise.
The Four Challenges: Data, Diversity, Location, Protection
Gartner states that “by 2022, more than half of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud.” And the amount of data collected increases daily. But data is only valuable when it can be used to gain insight. Much of the data collected at the edge is related to things like asset monitoring in industries like manufacturing and is not acted on unless it is outside normal parameters. So, the challenge for organizations is analyzing data and being able to quickly see what data needs to be saved and what can be deleted.
Each organization has different Edge Computing needs and there are many edge technology solutions on the market, which leads to a wide diversity of options. Partly due to this diversity, there are no common standards. Early projects tend to be unique and the requirements driven by specific goals. To successfully navigate this diversity, enterprises should develop strategic, long-term plans.
Edge Computing brings with it challenges of a scale not previously seen in the IT world. There may be thousands of connected devices that need to be managed, spread across geographies. Some will be in a traditional setting like a data center, but many others will be in real world locations like the plant floor, with little to no IT support and varying levels of power and connectivity. Simplicity of hardware and software is key.
Because Edge Computing is a distributed model, it brings with it security concerns that are very different from a centralized model. Each end point or edge device can be a point of entry for malicious entities. Plus, edge devices are often in remote locations or harsh environments, which brings up physical security concerns. These harsh conditions also may mean unreliable network connectivity.
Based on these four challenges, what are the keys to successful Edge Computing? First, create a strategic plan that begins with custom, niche use cases, but evolves to scale across the organization, taking into account different needs and wants. Be sure that any proof of concept shows how it can scale for security, storage, and management. And make sure hardware and software is hardened to prevent security breaches.