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Red Hat has driven open innovation across the IT landscape for both enterprise and telecommunications service providers, from providing an infrastructure foundation with Red Hat Enterprise Linux to the massively scalable framework of Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Today, we’re continuing to extend this open innovation, quite literally, to the edge.
As the geographic footprints of organizations become more dispersed, CIOs should look for ways to more effectively process data produced at remote sites. At the same time, as our current technology age fills with smart devices, artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet-of-Things (IoT), there is an expectation that data will reach the end user or the decision-maker in close to real time. It’s another example of the consumerization of enterprise IT; autonomous cars and smart homes do this, so why shouldn’t our data centers as well?
This near-instantaneous handover of information is easier said than done, especially at enterprise scale. IT organizations need to build around bandwidth, resilience, IT security needs, processing and distance challenges as they work to get this data into the right hands at the right time. Processing power can be used at the "edge" of these networks to help alleviate these challenges...which is exactly what edge computing is intended to provide.
Edge computing can help businesses react faster to incoming data and provide a real-time (or close to it) experience by pushing compute resources closer to the data source and consumer. This can deliver more actionable insights faster, potentially helping organizations gain competitive advantages in crowded markets, like telecommunications, transportation, healthcare and retail.
Red Hat sees OpenStack as a powerful answer to the complexities and realities of edge computing needs. We’ve enabled distributed compute nodes (DCN) capabilities within Red Hat OpenStack Platform to help organizations build a fully open edge computing architecture. This is designed to enable more consistent, centralized management with less operational overhead from the datacenter core to the edge. This has the end goal of driving data to IT decision-makers, lines of business and end users more quickly, helping them to make better-informed decisions and enhance business value.
One example of where edge computing can answer a critical use case is telecommunications companies and the race to 5G. 5G is a direct response to the growing number of connected, smart devices that require an always-on and high performing network. In order to help deliver this real-time experience, computing power should be as close to the end consumer as possible. "End consumers" don’t need to be people in this case - they could be a self-driving vehicle about to decide whether to sharply stop or to accelerate in order to avoid a collision. They could be an emergency responder who receives a live telematic feed on the location of a disaster from a drone. Or they might be you, walking through the city and enjoying a guided tour, visualizing its historic look with augmented reality.
All of these consumers, from life-saving decision-makers to entertainment-seekers, can use the availability of a more reliable high-performing network. In order to be able to provide this service, compute power should be placed at hundreds of thousands of micro-sites, which are often environmentally restricted. Locations often need to have a minimal footprint, sometimes with just one or two servers at most, and the capacity of these sites should be used as efficiently as possible. This is where Red Hat OpenStack Platform with DCN can help.
Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13 underpinning deployment of computing resources at the edge is designed to enable organizations to:
Minimize operational complexity by centrally managing edge deployments with the same tools used to manage the core OpenStack deployment - a good option for remote sites with limited IT staff.
Increase ROI by decreasing operational expenses with a smaller OpenStack footprint at the edge by using only computing services.
Save physical space while still benefiting from private cloud capabilities by using as little as one node at the edge location.
Gain operational speed by placing processing closer to the data source or consumer - helping to reduce the latency to analyze requests and enabling an enhanced user experience
Digital transformation can require organizations of all stripes to become software companies, even those that traditionally have looked at IT as an enabler rather than a "product." With this emphasis on applications and services, many companies will want to provide faster-reacting cloud-native applications, to help differentiate their offerings in competitive markets. At the same time, they will need to enable their IT teams to support these digital transformation initiatives, regardless of location. Edge computing can help with these strategies, extending processing power to the edge to better support new, latency sensitive applications and connected initiatives that require responsiveness and scale.
We’ve helped bring OpenStack to organizations across the world and now, with the advances of DCN, we can help them bring the benefits of OpenStack to the network’s edge.
You can learn more about Red Hat OpenStack Platform and our approach to edge computing here, or visit us at Open Infrastructure Summit Denver this week at booth #A1.