When it comes to computing, living on the edge is currently all the rage. Why? Edge computing is a way to decentralize computing power and move processing closer to the end points where users and devices access the internet and data is generated. This allows for better control of the user experience and for data to be processed faster at the edge of the network – on devices such as smartphones and IoT devices.
As enterprise organizations look to extend their corporate digital channel strategies involving websites with rich media and personalized content, it is vital to have a strong resiliency strategy.
Deploying a combination of cloud and edge services can help by: reducing unplanned downtime; improving security and performance; extending the benefits of multi-cloud infrastructure; speeding application development and delivery; and improving user experience.
1. Reducing unplanned downtime
Users will not tolerate a website or system that experiences outages while they are accessing services. Unfortunately, only 46 percent of companies have a technical continuity or security plan in place, which means more than half of corporate infrastructures are vulnerable to unplanned downtime, according to a recent Forrester Consulting survey. What’s more, nearly half of companies experience downtime a least once per month, according to the study, which undoubtedly costs them customers and money.
That’s why almost everybody these days seems intent on achieving the elusive “five nines” – 99.999 percent availability – which translates into just five minutes of downtime each year.
The internet consistently contributes up to 50% of unplanned downtime via unavailable connections, severe slowdowns and security attacks. Edge services can help organizations reach that goal by monitoring connections between users and resources – and adjusting to any glitches in real time.
2. Improving security and performance
In football there is a term known as “setting the edge.” The term is mostly used on defense, but it is equally applicable to the offense. On defense, the defender on the end of the line is tasked with “setting the edge” or getting outside to make sure the opposing runner doesn’t get around the outside for a long gain. Likewise, on offense, an offensive player must “set the edge” by blocking defenders to allow the ball carrier to get around the outside for a big gain.
In some ways, edge computing works like setting the edge in football. By providing services that bring information closer to the customer, companies can avoid interruption, improve performance, enable more secure connections and improve the overall user experience. Edge services automatically steer traffic to help ensure fast, secure delivery across the network.
Edge services have become critical to helping organizations provide performance and security features to internal-facing apps like CRM and ERP systems, as well as customer-facing apps. Companies must direct users to the appropriate networks and infrastructure so they can connect to the proper services. Using edge services to move the point of control closer to the user enhances security and helps ensure compliance with regulatory and privacy specifications, where required.
In addition, computing at the edge requires less latency and, with IoT devices, does not require constant connectivity, which would not hamper resiliency.
3. Extending the benefits of multi-cloud
More applications today rely on multi-cloud architectures for flexibility, resilience and improved performance at the edge. The analyst study cited business intelligence and reporting applications, IoT apps and marketing automation apps as among those most likely to use multi-cloud architectures.
Moreover, multi-cloud in conjunction with edge services such as managed domain name system (DNS) solutions can improve resilience. DNS not only helps with application performance and network resiliency, but also optimizes web app performance and managing traffic across multi- cloud environments.
4. Speeding application delivery and development
Edge services also affect the end-to-end delivery of applications, particularly as the adoption of DevOps practices, which bring together application developers with operations staff, becomes more prevalent. With DevOps, developers are increasingly responsible for more parts of the development and deployment or software delivery lifecycle, including applications that move work out to the edge.
This means developers need to become efficient at building applications that move processing to the edge and support edge services. Overall, the cloud has become an attractive target for application development and delivery pros, with edge services representing a new opportunity for innovation.
5. Improving user experience
Edge computing can ensure better user experiences by moving processing, data and services where they can best address the needs of users.
Increasing uptime, resiliency, performance and consistent service also results in improved customer experience. Moreover, customers are increasingly looking for more personalized experiences, which can be provided at the edge, as edge services don’t just bring data closer to the user, but also optimizes the user experience and delivers rich content.
In addition, as users require faster responses to queries, edge services fit the bill as data is managed outside the data center or core cloud, which can provide a more interactive and immersive experience for customers.
Today, servicing customers is on every organization’s priority list. They are more empowered than ever by their access to online information and have high expectations for outstanding experiences from companies they patronize. They will accept nothing less.
As such, firms should consider implementing a complete cloud strategy that includes edge services and core (cloud) computing for much-needed resilience.