Additional Considerations to Getting Your Edge Infrastructure Right

Schneider Electric – As noted in an earlier post, digital transformation is projected to reach US$2.3 trillion by 2023. Despite the challenging year to date, businesses are turning to digital transformation initiatives to prepare for the eventual rebound, as well as turning to edge computing technology as the enabling platform.

I’ve previously highlighted some considerations for choosing the right infrastructure solution, highlighting considerations around vendor reputation, cloud management, security, and support. In this second part, I want to draw attention to some questions to ask and the importance of a proof-of-concept trial.

Key questions to ask

Because a typical edge computing environment might not have technicians available to support and maintain them, it is vital that appropriate due diligence be done before signing on the dotted line. Crucially, questions should be asked not just about whether the proposed system fulfil the core needs, but also to consider alternatives and fallback plans if a particular functionality is not available.

Below are some questions to ask, grouped around the key themes of management, manpower, cybersecurity, and recovery.

  • Management: How much effort does it take to produce relevant management reports on the edge system deployment? Can we check on the status of all remote critical infrastructure systems?
  • Manpower: Does the internal team have the needed skills (and bandwidth) to maintain the edge infrastructure? Is there a centralised team to monitor the deployment around-the-clock, and will they know what to do when things go wrong?
  • Cybersecurity: How will we be informed of cybersecurity vulnerabilities as they arise? How difficult would it be for us to remotely upgrade our equipment or to apply the latest security patches?
  • Recovery: How long will it take for system failures or problematic performance trends to be detected? In the event of a failure, what onsite resources are there to attend to the problem? How much time does it take to resolve IT equipment failure incidents?

Doing a proof of concept and trial

As part of the due diligence of vendors and design phase, never pass up the opportunity to deploy a system or solution on a pilot basis. After all, a reputable vendor will stand behind their product and would have no issues allowing potential buyers to take them on a test-drive to better evaluate its suitability.

A trial can turn up potential hiccups or problems not evident in a planned demonstration, allowing for a far more accurate appraisal, as well as ensuring that issues are adequately addressed ahead of it going live. Finally, an edge infrastructure deployment should be rolled out in increments, either in multiple phases or with a smaller deployment that is slowly scaled up.

A deployment of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT Expert, for instance, can be phased in gradually. The vendor-agnostic, real-time monitoring tool can be managed internally, by a broad network of Schneider Electric Managed Service Providers (MSPs), or customised using its built-in APIs to integrate with an existing system. The beauty here is how you have the freedom to change your mind, and switch to another deployment model later.

For additional insights and help, check out the Buyer’s Guide to Edge Infrastructure Management Solutions by Schneider Electric here (free signup).

Article by Michael Kurniawan, Vice President – Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric