• Enables telcos to monetize 5G networks and edge infrastructure by delivering new low latency cloud services at the edge via an app catalog
Remember two things if you meet the typical profile of a reader of this blog—it’s all happening at the edge and production/manufacturing are the edge; and data is the gold we’re mining and hype of the cloud is so over, it’s about gathering, analyzing, orchestrating, and sending all the data gathered at the edge to some sort of cloud.
I’ve been watching developments of 5G (and not so much WiFi6, but it’s a partner) for some time. It’s hard to separate the hype from reality—something that always happens at the early stage. Marketers can’t prevent themselves from trying to hype their companies as ahead of the curve, while engineers have been quietly pushing the curve.
So I was able to watch some sessions at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Discover Virtual Experience on this very topic. HPE’s Aruba is a leading supplier of communication products. Following is the lead announcement from last week.
HPE Edge Orchestrator, a SaaS-based offering enables telcos to deploy innovative new edge computing services to customers via IT infrastructure located at the edge of telco networks or on customer premises. With the HPE Edge Orchestrator solution, telcos can extend their offerings to include a catalog of edge computing applications which customers can deploy with a single click, across hundreds of locations. HPE Edge Orchestrator enables telcos to monetize the 5G network and telco cloud while bringing lower latency, increased security and enhanced end-user experiences to their customers.
Analysts expect the next decade to see the rise of edge computing where data intensive workloads such as AI, machine learning (ML), augmented and virtual reality apps will be hosted at the edge. Telcos already have thousands of edge sites powering mobile and fixed networks, so they are uniquely positioned to lead the edge services market. In fact according to a recent IDC study, 40% of enterprises trust their telco to be their main provider of edge solutions. However, until now telcos haven’t had the tools to do this themselves without relying on public cloud providers.
HPE Edge Orchestrator gives the power back to telcos. Now they can offer value-added edge services in their own right and can move from being primarily bandwidth providers to offering innovative edge computing applications, such as AI-powered video analytics, industrial automation and VR retail services. New revenue from these high-value enterprise services will also help to cover the significant cost of deploying new 5G infrastructure.
• Telcos can move from being primarily bandwidth providers to offering innovative edge computing applications
HPE Edge Orchestrator unleashes the deployment and configuration of customer applications, provided as virtual machines or containers, at geographically distributed edge locations owned by telcos, such as existing central offices or on customer premises. Customers can access edge applications via a self-service app catalog for simple management, monitoring and the deployment of an app to an edge device with one-click operation.
HPE Edge Orchestrator enables enterprises to easily combine their applications with network services offered by telcos, thus creating an end-to-end flow across the edge. Today, HPE Edge Orchestrator supports Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) with other network-as-a-service (NaaS) functions being added to the catalog over time. The MEC platform enables applications to run at the edge, while delivering network services that ensure a dynamic routing of edge traffic in 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi environments.
To capitalize on the edge services opportunity, telcos need to bring applications from the cloud out to the edge where the data exists. With HPE Edge Orchestrator, along with HPE Edgeline and ProLiant servers, telcos can position application intelligence at the edge and unlock major business benefits for their customers:
- Lower latency: When applications can process requests locally instead of routing them to a data center, they can deliver much better performance. This translates to a better user experience for any business application. For the new generation of ultra-low-latency use cases like augmented reality and industrial automation, short round-trip times are absolutely essential.
- Bandwidth optimization: Positioning application intelligence out at the edge, such as doing number-crunching closer to where the numbers are generated, greatly reduces the wide-area network (WAN) bandwidth the application requires. This translates to lower WAN costs for businesses and less traffic congestion in telco core and metro networks. Applications like video analytics become much more efficient and, as a result, applicable to use cases that might not have been viable in the past.
- Improved security and privacy: Any time businesses transmit data over a network, they’re potentially exposing it to security threats. For the most sensitive information, some businesses want to keep everything onsite. In regions with strict privacy protections like the European Union, some applications may simply not be viable unless they can process all personally identifiable information (PII) locally.
New edge computing offerings start with compute platforms optimized for deployment at remote operator sites (central offices, radio towers, other point of presence (POP) locations), or even directly at the customer premises. For example, HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Servers, such as the EL4000 and EL8000, have been specifically designed to run at the edge. Platforms like these host all of the components needed to manage the edge computing workloads in containers or VMs.
HPE Edge Orchestrator provides a centralized, comprehensive, hardware agnostic orchestration platform to provision, configure, and perform general management functions for all components of edge computing. HPE Edge Orchestrator is also multi-tenant by design.
Telcos can give diverse enterprise customers their own “private” interfaces to manage their workloads, sites, edge devices, and services, while their own teams manage the entire CSP edge computing portfolio as a single system. HPE Edge Orchestrator can also work in conjunction with the recently announced Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP), enabling enterprises to easily integrate both Wi-Fi-based and telco services.
Antonio Neri, a scant two years into the position of President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), laid out a vision and roadmap last year to make the company “the global edge-to-cloud platform as-a-service company” which develops and delivers “enterprise technology solutions and services that help organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere.”
This year he unveiled new executive leadership–one heading GreenLake, the as-a-Service portion of the vision, and the other heading Ezmeral, the newly defined software portfolio and direction–and showed how far the vision has come in a year.
I am impressed with the speed and consistency of this pivot.
HPE Discover, the annual conference usually held in Las Vegas, went totally online this year. This was my sixth or seventh of these within four weeks, and by far the best. Kudos to the communications team for pulling this all together. I attended as an Influencer, and the global leader assembled an outstanding group (except for me) and a good program for us to meet as much of the leadership as possible.
I will write indepth specifically about GreenLake and Ezmeral and sustainability and helping restart work following COVID-19–and perhaps most important for you, my industrial audience–Aruba Edge Orchestrator.
Why do I take all the time and effort to attend these enterprise and IT events?
Let me share one example. I sat in two sessions specifically talking industrial applications.
In the first, an engineering leader from Stanley Black & Decker spoke of his IoT project using HPE’s Edgeline compute platform at almost every level of the manufacturing stack. Edgeline is an industrialized version of HPE’s high performance compute platform. I have seen examples in previous Discover events from off-shore oil platforms and a refinery in Texas. This is one of the points where the reality of “IT/OT Convergence” hits home.
The other session featured HPE Fellow and VP of HPE Labs Dr. Tom Bradicich detailing the vision of data–from analog data (which he has been discussing with me since his days at NI several years ago) to the edge to the cloud.
You can visit HPE.com and register for the event for a while, yet. Click sessions and search for keywords such as IoT, edge, and so forth to watch the on-demand videos. Yet another benefit of the “virtual experience.”
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I remember Stratus Technologies for years as a fault-tolerant server company that was almost alone exhibiting at manufacturing events. It has been an aggressive innovator for the past several years. This was just released today.
The company now bills itself as a global leader in simplified, protected, autonomous Edge Computing platforms. It today unveiled enhancements to its ztC Edge portfolio, which includes the ztC Edge 100i and ztC Edge 110i. This update delivers an improved and more efficient deployment and provisioning experience to help organizations quickly install the zero-touch Edge Computing platforms across multiple locations. In addition, new manageability, security, and performance enhancements will help partners and customers reduce their cost of operations and maintenance, minimize risk of data loss, and ensure high availability for all business-critical operations.
The ztC Edge is a secure, rugged, highly automated Edge Computing platform that helps organizations achieve peak performance through increased operational efficiency and zero downtime at the edge. With its built-in virtualization, automated protection, industrial interoperability and more, ztC Edge ensures that customers can quickly and easily achieve higher availability for their essential applications.
- ztC Edge system settings and user preferences can now quickly and easily be stored to a local drive or the Stratus Cloud. Simplified system backup and restoration will help companies save time by automating certain processes and reducing user error.
- Different templates can be created and archived for different use cases, workloads, or locations, making commissioning systems more efficient and accurate. Organizations can use these templates to rapidly provision single, or multiple ztC Edge platforms from remote areas. This is especially important for partners who implement and manage multiple platforms across multiple customers’ facilities and properties, making it easier for them to support systems and applications from one off-site location remotely.
- The latest version of the ztC Edge is Microsoft Azure certified, with integration capabilities embedded in the platform for simple systems management and faster time to value for customers.
- The ztC Edge 110i update introduces a new secure, cloud-based file repository, called the Stratus Cloud, for partners and customers to safely transmit, store and retrieve their ztC Edge system preference templates. Unlike other third-party cloud offerings, Stratus Cloud automatically authenticates users and groups using the same credentials as their Stratus Customer Service Portal account, saving partners and customers time and effort.
- The ztC Edge 110i also comes with expanded 64 GB memory capacity to support a broader range of memory-intensive industrial workloads, giving customers more choice and flexibility in consolidating multiple applications (such as SCADA) on one machine – saving costs and increasing agility.
- ztC Edge 110i platforms are now Class I Division 2 certified, making them safe to deploy in hazardous locations. This certification allows ztC Edge to be implemented in a wider variety of industrial settings with more significant environmental variability.
The ztC Edge’s built-in virtualization makes applications portable, while the computing platform also provides greater availability, resilience, and data protection than other platforms. Numerous out-of-the-box capabilities improve the security of customers’ ztC Edge platforms, thus upgrading their security posture and mitigating risk. ztC Edge platforms also support common OT and IT protocols, tools, and standards, such as SNMP and OPC UA, which makes them easy to integrate into, and work with, existing environments, saving partners and customers time.
“One of the biggest threats to customers is adding technology that is undependable and not secure. Customers should never have to worry about these risks when modernizing their Edge Computing capabilities,” said Jason Andersen, vice president of business line management at Stratus. “For some organizations, having highly reliable and protected platforms in place is imperative to the success of their business. They depend on these platforms to be ‘always-on’, secure, and able to run in any environment without human monitoring, maintenance, repairs, or support.”
“With 40 years of experience protecting business-critical applications and environments, our ztC Edge platform has evolved to address challenges around performance, security, and manageability for computing at the edge,” said Jason Dietrich, chief revenue officer at Stratus. “Stratus partners can trust they are providing customers simple, protected and autonomous Edge Computing solutions that will maximize their operational efficiency while minimizing their operational, financial and reputational risk.”