Edge storage: Four key points
Demand for edge computing is growing rapidly. Deloitte, for example, predicts the market for edge technology will reach $12bn (£9bn) this year. Other surveys suggest it could be worth more than $60b by 2028.
That growth is being driven by the internet of things (IoT), 5G connectivity and distributed systems in fields as diverse as manufacturing and healthcare, remote surveillance and even by developments such as autonomous vehicles.
Forrester, for example, talks about the “four edges of edge computing”. These comprise: the engagement edge, where consumers or the environment interact with the device; the operations edge; the enterprise edge; and the provider edge. This is a long way from the situation even a decade ago, when edge computing meant small or branch office IT and perhaps a small number of enterprise-owned mobile devices.
Edge systems are helping organisations respond to growing data volumes, and the need to process and analyse that data, without the cost and latency that comes with transferring information streams to a central datacentre.
Edge systems, however, need edge storage. And that storage needs to be adapted to the workload, location and environment.
Where is edge storage deployed?
Edge infrastructure and edge storage is by no means new. Organisations ran IT in remote and branch offices (ROBO) even before the advent of the desktop PC. The move to desktop PCs was quickly followed by local servers or network-attached storage (NAS) devices to provide file sharing and backup. More technically mature organisations used local storage to stage backups for uploading to a datacentre or to offload to tape.
User devices can also be viewed as edge computing, and in some ways pose an even greater challenge than a ROBO setup. The increasingly mobile nature of personal computing makes managing storage, including backups, even harder than backing up branch office hardware. The cloud has at least eased some of the pressure, allowing automated backups directly from a personal device. But organisations still need to manage local device storage, especially when it comes to security.
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