Rethinking the Edge in a Multicloud World
For the past decade or so, unless enterprises wanted to build more of their own datacenters, the cloud providers were the only game in town to tackle new workloads at massive scale. That capacity was available under a pay-as-you-go consumption model, which was great, until the bill arrived.
In many cases, cloud is more expensive than doing it yourself and carrying the capital investment on your balance sheet. The difference between what it costs a cloud to build the infrastructure and what customers pay to rent it is profit, but the difference between trying to build it yourself and using a credit card to borrow cloud capacity is called agility. Balancing these two is the main task of IT organizations today.
Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and other datacenter hardware OEMs saw the changes and over the past few years have methodically built out platforms that offer their portfolios as a service and established partnerships with the hyperscalers to increasingly make their software available in the public clouds.
With a boost from advanced automation capabilities, what Dell with its Apex and HPE with GreenLake as-a-service initiatives offer is on par with public clouds in terms of ability, ease of use, scalability and flexible consumption models, according to John Roese, global chief technology officer for products and operations at Dell (shown in the feature image above). Organizations can now weigh which workloads can go the public cloud and which can stay on premises, which is important when dealing with data sovereignty and regulatory issues.
It essentially ends the debate over public versus private infrastructure and changes the definition of the fast-growing edge, Roese told The Next Platform during an interview at last week’s Dell Technologies World show in Las Vegas. For a long time, the edge was seen as the third leg of the IT infrastructure stool, a separate domain from on-premises datacenters and public clouds.
It’s an outdated view, particularly given that while 10 percent of data now is processed outside of the datacenter, that will switch to 75 percent by 2025, according to CEO Michael Dell. That acceleration will be helped by the growth of faster 5G networks.
Instead, organizations need to shift their thinking and view their rapidly decentralizing IT environments. To Roese, there are two models that define the edge going forward. One is the cloud-extension model, where the edge sits at the end of a data and application pipeline that begins in the public cloud. The problem is that most enterprises use more than one public cloud, which forces them to build different edges to support those environments.