The benefits of the industrial cloud, which grants users scalability, low-cost access to machine learning algorithms, and a single source of truth for their data, have become well known. However, edge computing—which is not opposed to, but works in tandem with the cloud—is also growing in importance. In fact, Gartner predicts that more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of data centers or the cloud by 2022.
Edge computing refers to systems that push intelligence, processing power, and communication capabilities as close to the source of data creation as possible. The benefits of this are myriad: data coming out of plants can be aggregated and filtered via edge modules prior to being sent to the cloud to conserve bandwidth; sophisticated analytics trained on cloud-based machine learning models can be delivered to the edge and applied in real-time; external data such as weather conditions, supply chain information, or real-time pricing can be used as a source of I/O for legacy controllers that lack cloud connectivity capabilities; and communication between multiple clouds can be facilitated.
Focusing on these edge computing advantages, Dell Technologies has released two new edge products:
- An updated version of its Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform, which can ingest real-time data from an array of industrial internet of things (IIoT) connected devices and use it to perform rapid analytics on-premises while also passing historical data onward to other higher-level systems such as the cloud for long-term storage; and
- The Dell Technologies Manufacturing Edge Reference Architecture, offered in partnership with PTC, and which enables application virtualization from numerous cloud systems. In other words, machine learning models trained on large, aggregated datasets from various cloud vendors can be delivered to the edge for low-latency application and updated in iterations.
Both technologies are integrated with Dell’s Apex Private Cloud, which offers an edge framework as-a-service, meaning companies can side-step upfront costs and only pay for what they use.
“The edge is quickly rivalling data centers and public clouds as the location where organizations are gaining valuable insights,” said Jeff Boudreau, president and general manager of Dell’s Infrastructure Solutions Group. “By putting compute, storage, and analytics where data is created, we can deliver those data insights in real time and create new opportunities for businesses.”