In our previous post “One of the biggest mistake digitization projects make” we have analyzed some IT architecture design concepts, advantages and disadvantages of the traditional on-premise or cloud-based solutions, as well as, the new trends in many of the current IT market leaders to propose hybrid and distributed solution infrastructures.
The rise of hybrid cloud deployments, and especially multi-cloud deployments, is a big part of what’s causing the need for the distributed cloud . In fact, a recent study by Propeller Insights found that IT leaders found secure and reliable connectivity between providers; different support and consulting processes; and different platform services, the biggest challenges in managing workloads across different cloud providers. The distributed cloud helps manage all disparate computing environments as a single logical entity, improving the performance, reliability, and manageability of multi-cloud deployments.
In order to have a clear idea of the market expectations, according to Ivan Fioravanti, CTO of CoreView (a Microsoft 365 solutions provider): “Cloud usage will increase, hybrid cloud will become the new norm for infrastructure and for services in 2-3 years”.
In addition to the rise of multi-cloud deployments, the sharp increase in edge computing deployments is causing apps and their infrastructure to be more highly distributed than ever before. Propeller Insight’s survey data found that IT execs identified difficulty in managing apps across multiple edge locations and an inability to accommodate the IT infrastructure needed to host and operate at the edge, as the biggest business concerns about having apps at the edge.
In recent years, the unprecedented use of Internet of Thing (IoT), smart and connected devices, has made the processing of data a crucial job for businesses. If it does not properly manage, the voluminous amount of data may cost a lot. This is why almost all companies leverage cloud infrastructure and most have turned to edge computing, which brings computation and data storage closer to the source of the data instead of relying on the cloud.
Edge computing is not something relatively new, but the recently advances on the semiconductor and computer hardware industries are accelerating the presence of new smart and robust devices into the traditional IT infrastructure. Edge is enabling customers to change their business models. For data-heavy applications, such as those requiring high-definition video or extensive data analysis, even with 5G, sending data constantly back to the cloud will be expensive and deteriorate the customer experience. Instead, data could be filtered out, with the full stream travelling only as far as a local edge site, before being analyzed, rationalized, and only what is necessary streamed and stored in the centralized cloud. If operators decouple access and backhaul connectivity pricing, offering reduced backhaul for streaming to the edge rather than the centralized cloud, they can incentivize application developers to use edge computing sites, rather than on-premise or on-device workarounds .
Initially, Edge computing was a topology where information collection, processing, filtering and delivery are placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local and distributed will reduce latency, but what are the new trends for distributed IT infrastructures?
Empowered edge was a terminology introduced by Gartner  in their technology trends reports (TTRs), expects to be the next development in data processing within networks. Empowered edge looks at how these devices are increasing and forming the foundations for smart spaces and moves key applications and services closer to the people and devices that use them. By 2023, there could be more than 20 times as many smart devices at the edge of the network as in conventional IT roles according to 2020 TTRs.
In a post shared by Section , they have identified three critical elements within the Empowered Edge extracted from Gartner:
- Cloud to the Edge: using cloud architectures to deliver and manage capabilities out to the Edge; seeing cloud as a supporting force rather than a competitive one.
- Levelling up devices: Empowering Edge devices increase in the embedding of sensor, storage, compute and advanced AI capabilities in edge devices.
- Communicating to the Edge: other developments that will drive the Edge forward, such as the release of 5G.
Arrived at this point, a mandatory question is how big will be the distributed and edge computing market in the coming years. According to Markets and Markets  research estimate that the global edge computing market will grow from USD 3.6 billion in 2020 to USD 15.7 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 34.1% during the forecast period. Factors such as growing adoption of IoT across industries, rising demand for low-latency processing and real-time, automated decision-making solutions and a need for surmounting exponentially increasing data volumes and network traffic. Moreover, the emergence of autonomous vehicles and connected car infrastructure and the need for lightweight frameworks and systems to enhance the efficiency of edge computing solutions are expected to create ample opportunities for edge computing vendors.
A special mention for the role of the specialized AI chips to add processing power and other advanced self-capabilities (-optimization, -reasoning, -decision-making, etc.) to empower device-to-device interactions. Nevertheless, the extreme heterogeneity of the embedded IoT ecosystems and the complexity of several industrial, mobility, logistic, among other systems will pose significant management challenges. Empowered Edge is just one of the elements of the complex digital transformation puzzle, there is still a lot to do to achieve it.
In future posts, we will be continue writing about technology and business trends for enterprises. Furthermore, we recommend consulting the following literature to continue your digital transformation journey:
- Designed for Digital: How to Architect Your Business for Sustained Success, MIT review
- The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, by Simon & Schuster
- Artificial Intelligence: The Insights You Need, by Harvard Business Review
- The Year in Tech, 2021: The Insights You Need, by Harvard Business Review
- The Deep Learning Revolution, by MIT Press
- Competing in the Age of AI, by Harvard Review Press
The objective of this blog is to provide a personal vision of how digital transformation trends will be impacting in our daily activities, businesses and lifestyle.