As more companies embrace cloud computing, adding edge and IoT technologies is a natural next step.
Adoption of edge computing has sped up across industries, according to Nick Barcet, senior director technology strategy at Red Hat, speaking at the Red Hat Summit on Tuesday. “The driving force for edge computing right now is how people are going to modernize their environment,” Barcet said.
Edge computing is not mainstream yet. The number of organizations leveraging edge computing increased from 20% to 22% between 2020 to 2021, according to a Turbonomic’s annual State of Multicloud report surveying about 900 professionals. About one quarter plan to use edge computing in the next 18 months.
Energy infrastructure company Snam is still in the early stages of adopting IoT and edge computing, but the company already sees some benefits, according to Roberto Calandrini, head of architecture, digital & AI services at Snam, at the Red Hat Summit.
“The main benefits will be, for example, an expansion of our modern technology stack to the field,” Calandrini said. Snam deployed edge technology to move data processing closer to data storage, standardize its application stack and manage its distributed tech landscape.
Snam began to develop a hybrid cloud infrastructure in 2019, according to a company announcement. The investment served as a foundation for IoT, AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies.
Global public cloud spend will increase to total $332.3 billion in 2021, fueled in part by spend on emerging technologies, according to a Gartner forecast released last week. “Emerging technologies such as containerization, virtualization and edge computing are becoming more mainstream and driving additional cloud spending,” Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner, said in the announcement.
Related efforts such as containerization “will allow us to better manage and standardize the application services we offer on the different data sites we have across the country,” Calandrini said. “These benefits, in turn, will make us more efficient and more effective in managing our network and this will directly translate into collective benefits.
In one use case, Snam uses edge computing to provide data to the security operations center. Local processing ensures the center gets only the data it needs, according to Calandrini.
Edge computing comes with some drawbacks; its ability to scale is limited by constraints in space or power, according to Barcet. Companies can try offloading some processing to another site to scale as necessary.
But until recently, companies deploying edge computing solutions built “their own bespoke solutions,” Frank Zdarsky, senior principal software engineer at Red Hat, said at the event. Organizations frequently ran into security challenges with the technology, such as a scattered perimeter difficult to protect.
As companies add new capabilities, such as edge computing or IoT, it pays off to consider how increasing the tech stack extends the attack surface, according to Calandrini. Snam is redesigning its approach to the tech stack to account for security at every level.
“In order to do that, main points are cybersecurity first — so security by design, great focus on the architectural design or the technology before the actual deployment — and then very fast and accelerated rollout,” Calandrini.