How Managed Services Keep the Edge Ecosystem Afloat

Adrian Koh, Head of Secure Power Division Malaysia & Brunei discusses how data collection and analysis has erupted, taking data infrastructures to the edge of their capabilities.

How Managed Services Keep the Edge Ecosystem Afloat

By Adrian Koh, Head of Secure Power Division Malaysia & Brunei

Adrian Koh, Head of Secure Power Division Malaysia & Brunei discusses how data collection and analysis has erupted, taking data infrastructures to the edge of their capabilities.

As the amount of connected “things” — vehicles, devices, equipment, sensors — proliferate, organisations continue to look for ways to securely harness the data those things generate.

An entire ecosystem dedicated to collecting and analysing that data has erupted, and it’s taking data infrastructures to the edge of their capabilities.

Edge computing represents a vast opportunity for IT organisations if implemented well. Unfortunately, the data centre infrastructure required to host edge computing implementations is a patchwork affair. Today, organisations must leverage centralised data warehouses, regional edge data centres and local edge micro data centres.

Tech Research Asia (TRA) revealed in 2020 that organisations in Malaysia who has deployed edge computing were able to lower their costs in IT and operations, resulting in an overall improvement in employee experiences. However, most local organisations still find edge computing a fairly new concept. How can local organisations effectively tap into the full potential of Edge computing?

With so many geographically dispersed locations without on-site IT staff and often limited in-house resources, many organisations are turning to managed services providers to help deploy, monitor, and maintain their edge data centres. Still others, such as existing managed service providers and IT solutions providers, are expanding their services portfolio to help clients with the edge. This represents a vast opportunity for IT solution providers.

Core competencies

Edge locations need the same resilience, security, and fault tolerance as centralised locations, especially as they support more and more mission-critical applications. Managed service providers with the right capabilities offer peace of mind and operational efficiencies for edge deployments.

Ensuring the necessary resilience and availability at the edge is not a simple matter. It requires having at least two major capabilities in place:

  • Remote monitoring and management of UPS and physical infrastructure
  • Data collection and analytics from monitoring equipment. This data improves the reliability and cost-effectiveness of assets at the edge.

These highly specific capabilities are not the core competencies of most companies. They don’t even cover all the expertise and manpower necessary to maintain support infrastructure. Turning to a managed services provider places the responsibility for infrastructure uptime into the hands of experts so end users can focus on the core of their business.

Revenues boost

An increased need for managed services also represents an opportunity for existing providers. For example, power protection at the edge is not something many end-users consider. But an unmanned edge computing deployment without power is just another cost centre. For existing services providers, adding power monitoring and protection to their portfolio of offerings invites additional recurring revenue streams.

The story is the same for monitoring and dispatch services. When physical infrastructure in remote locations goes down, those sites need immediate attention. Most organisations don’t have a full-time response staff for such incidents, opening the door to managed services providers. Solutions and services providers can earn additional business by offering remote monitoring or dispatch services.

The edge ecosystem

Edge computing has come a long way despite still having challenges to overcome. There are still operational issues to be considered in order for organisations to effectively ensure edge of network availability during this proliferation. The global health crisis too played a role in the impact of data centre downtime, making the availability of data centres, at the core and at the edge, a key concern for organisations.

Maintaining availability is challenging, given edge data centres experience more frequent total facility outages than their centralised counterparts. The primary methods companies leverage to improve edge availability — investing in improved equipment and redundant equipment — are not cost-effective ways of ensuring uptime.

It’s clear that the growing edge ecosystem represents a two-pronged opportunity for managed services. End users can turn to managed services providers for cost-effective uptime of their edge deployments, and existing providers can work with partners to add new services to their portfolios.

Regardless of where companies fall in the spectrum of offered services, the first step is to cultivate true partnerships. A typical service provider contract lasts three years. Customers must feel at ease knowing that the contract brings them the latest offerings, keeps equipment in optimal condition, and prepares them for uncertainties and surprises.

The edge is the present and future of infrastructure investments. Appropriate managed services can keep the ecosystem running smoothly for all parties involved.