Edge computing is not a new technology: many companies have been successfully deploying it for a number of years now and reaping its significant benefits, not least through greater reliance on cloud services. But the advancements in the tech sector mean every IT department has to work with constantly moving goal posts.
So, as we leave 2019 and we enter 2020, the technology sector will be greatly impacted by the capabilities of edge computing. Not only this, but advancements in things like IoT, AI, and the growing threat of ransomware will change the way edge computing evolves in the coming years too.
Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO at Scale Computing.
Below are my five predictions on how the hottest tech trends will impact, and be impacted by, edge computing in 2020.
IoT and edge will evolve together
According to Statista, the global Internet of Things (IoT) market will explode from $2.9 trillion in 2014 to $8.9 trillion in 2020. That means companies will be collecting data and insights from nearly everything we touch, from the moment we wake up and likely even while we sleep. As evidence of this, technologists have seen that the rise of edge computing and IoT was accelerated by the birth of the iPhone as far back as 2007. These precursors to what we now see as edge computing have opened eyes across the industry to the possibilities of computing at the point of data creation and are accelerating as we move forward into 2020.
Seeing what Apple and others have achieved, we are going to see a much broader perspective on this ability to put reasonable amounts of compute into a tiny form factor and move that into dedicated functions. In 2020, as a result, we can expect to see evolutionary expansion in the IoT space, not revolutionary. It will continue to evolve, driven by a need for more efficient, more compelling, cost-effective solutions, with edge computing at the forefront.
Cloud is only part of the answer
We are living in a world that is increasingly data-driven, and that data is being generated outside of the four walls of the traditional data center. With 2020 approaching, organisations are taking a much deeper look at their cloud storage and overall usage and how much it is aiding the business. Cloud was originally positioned as the answer to all problems, but now the question is, “at what cost?”
More organisations are turning to hybrid cloud and edge computing strategies, turning to solutions that process data at the source of its creation. In 2020, businesses will rely on hybrid environments, with edge computing collecting, processing and reducing vast quantities of data, which is then later uploaded to a centralized data center or the cloud.
Edge will become uncomplicated
For a long time, the conversation around edge computing has been focused on hitting the right buzz words without actually addressing the customer’s needs. Everyone has forgotten that the customer’s objectives don’t revolve around the latest technology; what they care about is that their business apps are online and working correctly. When catering to these businesses in 2020, technology partners have to remember to think about their needs and wants versus what’s currently trending among IT professionals.
Edge computing is about running mission critical applications outside the data center. There are varying use cases, workloads, and needs within that envelope, but at the root of the issue is the need to run applications somewhere other than the cloud or data center. Customers want a simple solution equipped with the right technology to manage their IT and decrease the two biggest costs affecting IT departments: downtime and people.
While IT professionals are concerned with the conveniences of data centers, customers care more about how physical size, noise and power consumption will affect the quality of their business and productivity. In 2020, businesses offering edge solutions should worry less about marketing and focus on what edge computing actually is – delivering the solutions your customers actually want.
The rise of edge-enabled AI
Most artificial intelligence (AI) technology today relies on the cloud, and makes decisions based on the collection of data that is stored in the cloud it is accessing. However, this can cause latency as data has to travel to data centres and then back to the device. This can be problematic for technologies such as self-driving cars, which cannot wait for the roundtrip of data to know when to brake, or how fast to travel.
As a result of this, more organisations are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and edge computing to capture data at the source of creation, specifically to support high-performance use cases, such as AI. The implementation of HCI and edge computing in AI will see the industry reduce form factors, since HCI allows for technology to operate within a smaller hardware design. In fact, some companies have already announced that they will be launching HCI edge compute clusters that are no bigger than a cup of coffee.
By 2020, it is expected that 80% of all devices will have an AI feature. While the cloud has provided AI with the platform it needed to grow to the level of being available on nearly every technological device, the combination of HCI and edge computing will give AI the tools to evolve to the next frontier, with smarter and faster decision making for organisations in 2020.
Tackling the threat of ransomware
The recent news cycle has been flooded with organisations from airlines to banks and hospitals, even entire local governments, falling victim to ransomware attacks. Threats such as these are evolving at an accelerated pace, and they will continue to become smarter, more lucrative and increasingly devious in 2020. Where before organisations may have believed they could not afford to modernize their IT infrastructure management and defenses, there are now more diverse options on the market.
As the malicious momentum of attacks snowballs into next year, businesses must realize that traditional legacy tools are not only slowing their digital journey down, but leaving them vulnerable to tactical and well-organised criminals. We will see organisations taking advantage of highly-available solutions, such as hyperconvergence and edge computing, that allow them to not only keep up with changing consumer demands, but deploy the most effective cyber defenses, disaster recovery, and backup.
The way organisations approach the aftermath of data being corrupted will likely change too, as insurance companies will begin to take an active role, not just in the recovery of data, but in the decision making when it comes to whether or not to pay the ransom demand. The overall cost of doing business will rise in conjunction with the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and every business should be bracing themselves for the impact.
Developments in these key areas of the IT industry are happening with perpetual force. With 2020 around the corner, it would be wise for businesses to start considering edge computing and HCI as those technologies that will enable their organisations to make better use of technologies like AI and IoT, and remain competitive.
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Alan Conboy is the Office of the CTO at Scale Computing. He is a thought leader in Hyperconvergence and is a 30 year industry veteran and a technology evangelist that specializes in designing, prototyping, selling, and implementing disruptive storage and virtualization technologies. Alan is the First mover in the X86/X64 Hyperconvergence space and one of the first 30 people ever certified by SNIA.