Living on the edge: 5 Reasons why edge services are critical to your resiliency strategy

Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Kyle York

When it comes to computing, living on the edge is currently all the rage. Why? Edge computing is a way to decentralise computing power and move processing closer to the end points where users and devices access the internet and data is generated. This allows for better control of the user experience and for data to be processed faster at the edge of the network – on devices such as smartphones and IoT devices.

As enterprise organisations look to extend their corporate digital channel strategies involving websites with rich media and personalised content, it is vital to have a strong resiliency strategy.

Deploying a combination of cloud and edge services can help by: reducing unplanned downtime; improving security and performance; extending the benefits of multi-cloud infrastructure; speeding application development and delivery; and improving user experience.

1.Reducing unplanned downtime

Users will not tolerate a website or system that experiences outages while they are accessing services. Unfortunately, only 46% of companies have a technical continuity or security plan in place, which means more than half of corporate infrastructures are vulnerable to unplanned downtime, according to a recent Forrester Consulting survey. What’s more, nearly half of companies experience downtime a least once per month, according to the study, which undoubtedly costs them customers and money.

That’s why almost everybody these days seems intent on achieving the elusive “five nines” – 99.999% availability – which translates into just five minutes of downtime each year.

The internet consistently contributes up to 50% of unplanned downtime via unavailable connections, severe slowdowns and security attacks. Edge services can help organisations reach that goal by monitoring connections between users and resources – and adjusting to any glitches in real time.

2.Improving security and performance

In football there is a rule known as “The Offside rule.” The term is mostly used on offense, but it is equally applicable to the defense. On defense, the defenders are tasked with “holding the line” and making sure the opposing striker doesn’t get themselves and the ball passed the defense and through on goal without being flagged for offside. Likewise, on offense, the offensive players must make runs to disrupt the defense and “break the line” to allow the striker to penetrate the defense for a chance on goal without being flagged for offside.

In some ways, edge computing works like the holding the defensive line in football. By providing services that bring information closer to the customer, companies can avoid interruption, improve performance, enable more secure connections and improve the overall user experience. Edge services automatically steer traffic to help ensure fast, secure delivery across the network.

Edge services have become critical to helping organisations provide performance and security features to internal-facing apps like CRM and ERP systems, as well as customer-facing apps. Companies must direct users to the appropriate networks and infrastructure so they can connect to the proper services. Using edge services to move the point of control closer to the user enhances security and helps ensure compliance with regulatory and privacy specifications, where required.

In addition, computing at the edge requires less latency and, with IoT devices, does not require constant connectivity, which would not hamper resiliency.

3.Extending the benefits of multi-cloud

More applications today rely on multi-cloud architectures for flexibility, resilience and improved performance at the edge. The analyst study cited business intelligence and reporting applications, IoT apps and marketing automation apps as among those most likely to use multi-cloud architectures.

Moreover, multi-cloud in conjunction with edge services such as managed domain name system (DNS) solutions can improve resilience. DNS not only helps with application performance and network resiliency, but also optimises web app performance and managing traffic across multi- cloud environments.

4.Speeding application delivery and development

Edge services also affect the end-to-end delivery of applications, particularly as the adoption of DevOps practices, which bring together application developers with operations staff, becomes more prevalent. With DevOps, developers are increasingly responsible for more parts of the development and deployment or software delivery lifecycle, including applications that move work out to the edge.

This means developers need to become efficient at building applications that move processing to the edge and support edge services. Overall, the cloud has become an attractive target for application development and delivery pros, with edge services representing a new opportunity for innovation.

5.Improving user experience

Edge computing can ensure better user experiences by moving processing, data and services where they can best address the needs of users.

Increasing uptime, resiliency, performance and consistent service also results in improved customer experience. Moreover, customers are increasingly looking for more personalised experiences, which can be provided at the edge, as edge services don’t just bring data closer to the user, but also optimises the user experience and delivers rich content.

In addition, as users require faster responses to queries, edge services fit the bill as data is managed outside the data centre or core cloud, which can provide a more interactive and immersive experience for customers. 

Today, servicing customers is on every organisation’s priority list. They are more empowered than ever by their access to online information and have high expectations for outstanding experiences from companies they patronise. They will accept nothing less.

As such, firms should consider implementing a complete cloud strategy that includes edge services and core (cloud) computing for much-needed resilience.

(The writer is Vice President of Product Strategy for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.)