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7 Questions to Ask an Edge Computing Provider

Edge computing is now well established as an opportunity to drive innovation by putting compute resources closer to where they are needed. From manufacturers who are applying edge computing on the factory floor to monitor machine data and inspect outputs or a chain of retail stores that have deployed edge-based solutions to run their critical applications, the appetite for edge computing is growing by the day.

One of the first and most important steps for any edge journey begins with finding the right solution vendor. There are now dozens of vendors who offer some flavor of edge functionality – but as is the case with any enterprise technology, you’ll need to be able to read through the marketing fluff to determine which capabilities matter most to your specific use case. What follows are just a few questions that should be part of every evaluation along with a brief explanation as to why they’re important.

1. How resilient is your edge solution? What type of automated failover capabilities does the edge solution possess?

For most edge deployments, skilled IT staff are typically not on-site to troubleshoot issues when they arise. This is especially true for organizations that maintain numerous remote branch offices where technical resources are in short supply. The resilience of a prospective edge solution should be considered as a core selection criteria so you’ll want to ask several questions about how a prospective vendor ensures availability in the event of a disruptive event. A mature edge solution should be able to demonstrate how their systems can automatically failover to another node and minimize downtime in the event of a disruption.

2. What type of software do you use to manage the edge systems and what type of automation capabilities does your solution possess?

A robust edge computing solution is more than just an integrated stack of compute, networking and storage equipment (and few so-called edge vendors meet this minimum standard!). What makes edge truly deliver value, lies in the ability to intelligently orchestrate these infrastructure components as a unified whole so that your edge systems can quickly adapt to evolving conditions. The software that keeps these systems running is like the cerebral cortex of your edge network and a mature edge solution should also include built-in automation capabilities that can successfully mitigate small issues before they cascade into a full-blown outage. Beyond evaluating the intelligence of a prospective edge solution, you should also be mindful of its usability. If the software is too complex then usage will be limited to those select individuals who fully understand it. Finally, any worthy edge solution provider should be able to provide a live demonstration of their software’s capabilities. Even better, they should offer a free trial version of their edge solution to help you evaluate it in your real-world environment.

3. Are there any additional licensing fees for virtual machines?

Before you can sell your leadership team on an edge computing solution, you’ll need to understand the fully loaded costs of the infrastructure you’re buying. Imagine purchasing a new car only to find out that at the end of every year that you need to pay additional fees to fully utilize all of its capabilities? Therefore it’s important to consider all of the costs – for instance, do you need an additional license for a hypervisor like VMware or for advanced virtualization features like software defined storage? Do you need to purchase additional tools to remotely monitor remote hardware and software (i.e. VMWare vCenter or other cloud based management tools). You can read more about the hidden costs of VMware in this CRN interview with Scale Computing CEO, Jeff Ready.

4. How will maintenance and upgrades of remote devices and systems be handled?

The ease in which you can maintain your edge infrastructure should also be a key consideration when evaluating a potential solution. By their very nature, edge systems exist and operate in remote locations. This might mean a remote office far away from headquarters or it could be something even more extreme such as a freighter in the middle of the ocean. And because trained IT staff won’t be available to maintain and update these systems, it’s imperative that you understand the time and effort that will be required to keep your edge deployment up-to-date and fully operational. For organizations that have deployed edge to multiple different locations, it’s also important to assess an edge vendor’s ability to centrally deploy new functional and security updates across their estate and whether they are able to roll these out in a non-disruptive fashion.

5. How easily does your edge solution integrate with different cloud environments?

While many in the industry believe that the edge and the cloud are in fierce competition with one another, the reality is that there is a role and function for both and they should ideally complement each other. As the authors of this FCC whitepaper write, “instead of being in competition with each other, forward-looking organizations, and even many public cloud service providers, are beginning to consider how to selectively employ both.” A mature edge provider should be able to demonstrate integrations with the major public cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS)Google Cloud Platform (GCP)Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud and should also be able to seamlessly run VMs in container environments such as Kubernetes and Docker.

6. How much training does your solution typically require for staff to be productive?

Every new solution that is introduced into your environment represents another layer of potential complexity. And while every tool will require some degree of training for the individuals tasked with managing your edge environment, the complexity of some tools will require significantly more time and effort than others. Because your IT staff already has too much on their plate, you don’t want them to have to spend days or weeks working to get certified on a new system. The most feature-rich edge solutions should pay as much attention to the usability and intuitiveness of their platform as they do to their capabilities matrix.

7. Can we speak to other customers in our industry who have deployed your edge solution?

Finally and perhaps most important of all, before making a final decision about a particular edge provider, you’ll want to speak to other businesses in your industry and their firsthand experience with a particular vendor as their insights can help identify potential issues and questions to ask by getting the unvarnished truth from other technology professionals who have actually applied the technology. Peer-review sites like Gartner Peer InsightsSpiceworksTechValidate and TrustRadius also provide an essential lens into the real-world application of edge technologies and should be part of any due diligence process before making a final purchase decision.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About Scale Computing
Scale Computing is a leader in edge computing, virtualization, and hyperconverged solutions. Scale Computing HC3 software eliminates the need for traditional virtualization software, disaster recovery software, servers, and shared storage, replacing these with a fully integrated, highly available system for running applications. Using patented HyperCore™ technology, the HC3 self-healing platform automatically identifies, mitigates, and corrects infrastructure problems in real-time, enabling applications to achieve maximum uptime. When ease-of-use, high availability, and TCO matter, Scale Computing HC3 is the ideal infrastructure platform. Read what our customers have to say on Gartner Peer Insights, Spiceworks, TechValidate and TrustRadius.

New cybersecurity project to decrease online vulnerability with the help of Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship funding

Antwerpen, Bonheiden, Brussel, Gent and Leuven, Belgium, February 1st, 2022. A team of three Flemish technology and services companies and three research groups have started working on the APAX project. A two-year project, Automated Posture Analysis that Scales (APAX) will investigate the risks related to the digital presence of online assets in an automated manner that can adapt itself to the requirements of hyper scaling. The goal of the project is to achieve a higher level of cybersecurity and avoid negative impact from vulnerabilities such as Log4J by maximising the usage of automated processes.

Industry project partners Awingu, Ceeyu and Toreon will join forces to research, explore and build technologies thanks to a cybersecurity funding initiative from VLAIO, the Flemish government agency for innovation and entrepreneurship. The three companies will apply ongoing research and inspire academics for future work to help automate the analysis of threats and challenges in cybersecurity. They will do so using the expertise from research partners VUB Software Languages Lab and VUB Artificial Intelligence Lab, together with industry association LSEC.

Limited resources

With the ongoing digitalization and continuous evolving cloud, internet technologies and applications running on them, new cybersecurity challenges appear while many older ones have not yet been resolved. The recent Log4J vulnerability that started early December 2021 continues to ripple throughout 2022 and will likely last for months or even years to come. The vulnerability kept cybersecurity teams busy during the end-of-year holiday period. All systems and applications needed to be inspected and analysed for potential business risks that needed mitigation. Most organizations identified this as a labour-intensive activity, eating away their limited resources. They realised that an automated approach to protection, is a better way to go.

Maximize automation

The fundamental goal of the APAX project is to avoid malicious activities to happen and to avoid active business systems and applications from being inaccessible, infringed, unreliable, held hostage or being abused to trade illicit content. To keep up with these challenges and evolutions, cybersecurity will need to evolve from a manual, labour-intensive approach to automated prevention, detection, mitigation, reaction, incident handling, process management, reporting, analysis, and recovery. This must, of course, happen in close collaboration with the operating parties, supporting businesses, people, and processes.

Increase efficiency

The APAX project partners will work on improving minimally 50 partially automated assessments for cybersecurity postures. Further automation will increase the efficiency of cybersecurity experts and halve the time spent on each individual case. Maximizing automation decreases the cybersecurity reaction time and reduces the repetitive work of security specialists, allowing them to focus on their expert work.

About Version 2
Version 2 is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.

About Awingu
Awingu produces a browser-based Unified Workspace solution. It allows users to work and collaborate from virtually anywhere using any device compatible with HTML5 browsers. As a turnkey solution, Awingu offers businesses the ease and convenience of platform-independent mobility and offers everything you need to stay productive: legacy and cloud applications, documents and data. Awingu requires zero configuration and zero client software installation, making IT administration extremely simple.

About Ceeyu
Ceeyu provides a cloud-based analysis of a company’s digital presence, outside-in. This posture analysis displays all IT assets visible to any internet user, including malicious ones applying a similar analysis to gather intelligence to determine their attack paths. Ceeyu aims to quickly expand its intelligence gathering, support to standardize the results and automate the analysis to minimize its cost and provide continuously near real-time posture analysis.

About Toreon
Toreon is the largest Flemish originated cybersecurity expert services company. Grown from a team of specialized professionals, the company expanded rapidly organically. Toreon analyses the cybersecurity posture from the inside-out. A cybersecurity analysis can quickly require between 100 and 200 different scans that need to be executed, resulting in information that requires analysis. To optimize its services to its customers, but also to optimize the internal expert resources, Toreon has started to automate these analyses, but aims to further expand this process automation and by adding automated intelligence.

About VUB Labs
The VUB Software Languages Lab and the VUB Artificial Intelligence Lab are both innovative engineering departments from one of the leading Flemish universities in Belgium. Both have a long-standing scientific and industry-supporting background. Their expertise from the domain of applying AI-based automation and fuzzing technologies will be supporting the technology companies throughout the two-year project.

About LSEC
LSEC, an industry association that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022 will be focusing on the standardization work for automated postures, in relation to third party risk management analysis and relaying to developing industry standards in the US and EU. For more information, please contact Ulrich Seldeslachts, MD LSEC, Sebastien Deleersnyder, CTO Toreon, or any of the industry and scientific partners.



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