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What to Look for in a Cloud-Ready HCI Platform to Empower and Integrate Edge Computing

Edge computing is one of the most important trends in IT and business. As Forrester Research says: “Every company needs edge computing on its technology road map starting in 2019.”

There are many reasons for this: exponential data growth; the rise of cloud computing; the internet of things (IoT), with billions of sensors everywhere; big data analytics, and the need to capture and deliver value wherever data is created and needed.

One other factor fueling the growth of edge computing is the availability of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions that significantly reduce costs and simplify deployments. With the right HCI platform you can seamlessly integrate any edge with your entire IT environment—including any data center and any cloud. 

Here’s why edge computing is so critical today and why HCI should be your enabling technology platform from the core to the cloud to the edge.

Leveraging Data
Business today is all about leveraging data. The companies that do the best job of capturing, manipulating, analyzing and utilizing their data are the ones that tend to be innovators and disrupters in their industries.

However, as more data is being created in more locations, IT teams are under more pressure to deploy solutions that not only capture that data, but also use it to deliver value and intelligence in real time or near-real time to wherever it is needed, whenever it is needed.

Enter edge computing. Due to the growth of the IoT, analytics, cloud computing, mobile applications and other key trends “there is a greater need for compute and storage resources to be deployed farther from data centers,” according to 451 Research.

A 451 survey in 2017 showed that half of the data being collected at the edge was being discarded. This type of waste wasn’t viable in 2017, and is no longer sustainable: “There is a need for greater processing power at the edge to mitigate waste and capitalize on the value of data,” the report says. 

Why HCI, Why Now?
HCI has proven to be invaluable in enabling IT to meet the needs of their edge environments and has been a major factor in fueling strong growth in deployments. Edge computing is growing at a compound annual rate of more than 40% and will reach $3.24 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research

With HCI, IT teams can leverage pre-integrated compute, storage and network solutions with unified software-defined management. HCI deployments and operations require less specialized IT skills and personnel than traditional three-tiered infrastructures. 

In addition, HCI can be up and running much faster, requiring fewer purchase orders and integrations. HCI also delivers the performance required at the edge, mitigating the risk of downtime and latency for business-critical applications.

What to Look for in a Solution
In evaluating potential HCI edge solutions, you should consider how effectively the technology at the edge delivers the performance and simplicity demanded by all IT infrastructure today.

As noted by 451, IT teams should be looking for solutions that “incorporate hardware-acceleration innovations optimized through platform-level engineering to increase performance, scaling and efficiency.” The solution should also deliver a “cloud-like experience” requiring “tight integration between all components with single-source support for the solution stack.”

You should also evaluate how the edge solution integrates with and helps unify the rest of your infrastructure. What you use at the edge should fit in seamlessly with what you use in your on-premises data centers and in supporting mobility across multiple cloud environments. The last thing IT needs is to create silos that are disconnected from the rest of their infrastructure, whether at the core, at the edge, or across multiple clouds. The only way to truly leverage data is to deploy on-premises infrastructure that supports any application, any cloud, and any location.

Finally, make sure you choose solutions that are easy to install and manage, especially in locations where you don’t have IT experts. You want to avoid the hassle, expense and time of sending administrators out into the field to deal with infrastructure at your edge loctations.

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Taking the Next Step
When it comes to meeting the demands of the enterprise from core to edge to multicloud, Cisco HyperFlex systems offer advantages in performance, simplicity and manageability that other solutions can’t match.

The latest innovations in Cisco HyperFlex with Intersight introduce new edge scaling options as well as cloud management for multisite edge deployments. These capabilities are engineered to meet the unique requirements for deploying HCI at the edge on a global scale.

Cisco has also simplified edge deployments to meet the needs of organizations that may not have the technical expertise to install computing systems at edge locations. With Cisco HyperFlex and Intersight, you can simply plug and play. This is because preconfigured solutions can be shipped directly to multiple edge locations. Individuals on site simply have to plug everything in.

With Intersight, profiles can be cloned, changed and made for each location from anywhere. This ensures that no matter where your IT expertise resides, administratrors can access all of your HyperFlex systems and adjust them as needed. You no longer have to ship experts to all of your locations to install systems. Your business saves time and money as they manage the technical aspects of installation from wherever they reside.

Forrester Research said it: Every company needs to have edge computing on its technology road map starting in 2019. Need directions? Start here.