Edge computing is growing quickly, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll stop anytime soon. There will be 75 billion IoT devices by 2025, according to Statista. 5G adoption is also driving the growth of edge computing. And finally, the major cloud companies are now investing in the edge: AWS, Microsoft and Google. We can safely say that the edge is at the brink of being mainstream. IT operations need to evolve to effectively monitor and manage new devices, sensors, applications, and data. Growing enterprise edge ecosystems should integrate and become part of centrally managed ITOM systems.
A lot has been said about the business benefits of Edge Computing, let’s look at how it might benefit ITOps. Edge Computing could save IT money on cloud and network bandwidth as data volumes keep rising. IT management and operations could also benefit. Local processing of data could provide faster insights to manage local devices and maintain high-quality services when it really counts, for example in case of a critical server performance issue.
ITOps today are submerged by data from many on-premises and cloud components, and an increasingly distributed footprint. The reality is that only about 1% of monitoring data is useful. Edge monitoring could process and send only that percentage of actionable data to operations management. Filtering out contextual data on the edge could support real-time decision to run ITOps at higher speed and scale. ITOps should also be a leader when it comes to minimizing edge technology’s risk, performance-, security-, and privacy-wise.
Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to see widespread adoption of edge technology by ITOps. Edge security needs are still widely unknown. Edge services are small and often not designed with security in mind. This is especially worrying when considering edge devices that collect personal data, email, phone numbers, health data, or financial information. ITOps will need to work with security and legal teams to identify company-specific risk, governance, and compliance requirements around edge data management.
Although edge monitoring tools are at the early stages, we will see innovation thanks to 5G. Companies need to instantly monitor and analyse edge generated data. In the future billions of devices will be communicating machine-to-machine. That is going to require the ability to manage large volumes of connected devices and the information exchanged will be critical. 5G is acting as the unifying technology, bringing high information flow and density of scale.
As the shift to edge environments takes place, IT will need to think of new policies and thresholds for central processing and alerting of the data. AI-based automation will be crucial, as operators would have no chance of keeping up with the volume of data. Edge services will transform the future of most industries from agriculture to finance.
ITOps will have to work harder to understand and manage this evolving infrastructure. DevOps will inevitably have taken over software development and IT management by the time the Edge is mainstream. There would be no other way of managing change and deployment of edge technology without the continuous integration and delivery methodology of DevOps. ITOps will have to adapt to DevOps practices and tools to manage the Edge. ITOps is now at the crossroads where it will need to determine how to change and adapt to the new distributed, hybrid cloud.