As businesses increasingly rely on IT resources in all aspects of their business, the need for decentralized infrastructure to support the compute and storage needs of local applications has never been greater. As I mentioned in a recent blog, edge computing spending has grown significantly and is predicted to continue at a high rate, as more use cases are identified across a variety of industries.
However, edge deployments also have unique challenges that cannot be easily solved with existing infrastructure:
- Limited and unconventional space: in many edge locations, space for IT infrastructure wasn’t planned in advance, so teams must work with existing structures that may not be ideal for servers and storage
- Cost: many organizations don’t have large budgets for edge infrastructure
- Management: most edge sites don’t have dedicated IT staff to take care of the hardware and software lifecycle, and troubleshooting can be challenging
- Security: physical security at edge sites often doesn’t match the more robust standards for the core data center
- Different workload characteristics: edge locations can require a variety of applications with different needs, from high performance, low latency storage needs to less sensitive back-office applications. Workloads need access to block storage and file shares.
So, what can IT do to overcome these challenges? According to the latest research, it looks like IT is increasingly relying on hyperconverged infrastructure to meet the unique needs of the edge.
Organizations Increasingly Turning to HCI at the Edge
In a recently published study*, 451 Research has found that HCI use is growing rapidly at the edge, as VMware believes the characteristics of HCI are well suited to addressing the unique challenges posed in those deployments VMware expects this trend to continue.
451 Research also found that those using HCI at the edge are planning on expanding their HCI footprint at the edge – a sign that they are pleased with the results and want to continue to invest in the technology. Overall, over 80% of HCI users at the edge plan to increase their HCI deployments in the next 24 months.
Why HCI for the Edge?
Customers are using HCI to support many use cases at the edge at a lower cost and smaller footprint than alternative solutions. Here are just a few capabilities that support a diversity of workloads at the edge, from mission-critical applications in factories to back-office apps in a remote office.
Scalability – HCI can scale down to as little as two nodes plus a witness
Performance and Flexibility – HCI supports a wide variety of storage media, from storage-dense drives to high-performance NVMe for the most demanding applications. Customers can run a wide variety of workloads on the same infrastructure and manage their storage requirements via policies.
Data Services – HCI enables many desired data services in a small footprint which are needed for edge deployments, including native block and file storage, quality of service and encryption, just to name a few.
Centralized Management – Once deployed, HCI can be managed from a central location, greatly reducing the need for on-site IT staff.
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*Source: 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Hyperconverged Infrastructure, April 2022. Published June 2022.