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Schneider Electric white paper calls for collaboration on edge security


May 16, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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May 16, 2019 – A new white paper by Schneider Electric aims to create a structure for tackling IT problems at the edge that includes an ecosystem of system integrators and other vendors to ensure security.

The paper, “Solving Edge Computing Infrastructure Challenges,” indicates that despite providing many great benefits to users across industrial, enterprise and retail consumer environments, edge data centres also present a number of challenges in terms of how they are built, deployed and managed. Due to their distributed nature and the growing number of deployments, edge sites are often unmanned and lack available IT staff, which makes them hard to manage efficiently, while ensuring low service and maintenance costs.

According to Worldwide Technology, “The ability to pre-configure technology platforms and devices before shipment increases deployment speed and can reduce field engineering costs by 25 per cent to 40 per cent, increasing order processing speed by 20 per cent and reducing maintenance costs by seven per cent.” As such, a pre-integrated and collaborative approach within the vendor ecosystem, in addition to rule-based configuration tools, reference designs and cloud-based management software are key to making edge solutions faster to deploy, more resilient and cost-effective for customers.

“The unique challenges of deploying and maintaining IT at the edge of the network dictates a new collaborative model,” says Wendy Torell, senior research analyst at Schneider Electric’s Science Centre, in a release.

This collaborative approach requires an integrated “edge” ecosystem comprised of IT and infrastructure vendors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), systems integrators and managed service providers (MSPs), who work together to simplify, accelerate and ensure resiliency at the edge. The ecosystem works for the end user to monitor and maintain all edge assets, while delivering greater levels of uptime and cost-effectiveness for the end user. The ecosystem, in effect, becomes the extended workforce of the end user.

The responsibility of the vendors is to create simple tools to guide the selection and configuration of data centres, which are optimized for specific customer applications. Whether in retail, industrial or commercial consumer environments, vendors should test and optimize solutions, providing reference designs and systems that allow rapid integration of hardware and software management tools.

Additionally today’s businesses must rely on cloud-based management software, namely Data Centre Management as a Service (DMaaS) solutions and on-premise Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools, to manage multiple edge data centres efficiently in real-time. Using a combination of pre-integrated hardware solutions, in addition to cloud-based software, can reduce field engineering costs by between 25 per cent and 40 per cent, while increasing uptime and availability.