At Stratus, our solutions are very often deployed at what we call “the Edge”. This is a very interesting place that is sometimes also referred to as the Remote Office / Branch Office, “ROBO” or even lately “the Fog”. We are often asked for our definition so here it is in three versions.
The Analyst Version
We largely align our vision and definition of the Edge with what IDC calls “Departmental” Deployment Locations. This is something that is deployed outside the datacenter with 1000 feet or more of floor space. This datacenter can be either traditional or hyper-scale.
The Short Version
Our short version is that the Edge is a server deployed outside the datacenter where there is no dedicated IT staff to manage it.
The Long Version
The Edge is the place where technology is deployed without the standard trappings of a traditional datacenter in terms of human and technology resources. Often treated like “an orphan out in the wild”, computing at the Edge is giving advent to the internet of things (IoT) as well as localized data and telemetry services. At Stratus we believe there are 3 categories of Edge technologies. These categories are likely to co-exist with each other but can also be stand-alone depending upon the situation.
- Fixed Remote Edge – Fixed remote Edge is very common today and is a superset of ROBO. Fixed Remote Edge goes beyond the idea of end user computing and expands into new areas such as Industrial Automation (Manufacturing), Energy Production and Retail. Fixed Remote Edge solutions typically have some level of IT support (albeit not likely dedicated or specialized). A major trend in this area includes server consolidation via virtualization due to the proliferation of software defined automation technology.
- Operational Mobile Edge – Operational Mobile Edge differs from Fixed Remote in that it is often placed alone and somewhat autonomous in a wide range of environments. This technology is also often not permanently deployed and may move about. It’s generally remotely operated and support is often not immediately available – it may take days to get someone out there. Examples include wind and solar farms, container ships, airplanes and highway systems.
- Mobile End Points (aka Things) – When people think about the IoT they often default to the Things. This is common since many systems are defined by the parts that have the most user impact. The nature of these things is rapidly evolving and you can look to your home to see that thermostats, security systems and even your phones are all in this category. In the enterprise examples include next generation PLC equipment, supply chain tracking and cars with electronic toll payments.
So, the Edge is a very diverse place where reliability and serviceability are mandatory. This is why you will see Stratus hardware and software technologies deployed globally in all three categories of Edge applications.