Edge Computing Requires Cloud Native Thinking Today

Edge computing is creating a new internet. In an age where consumers and businesses demand the smallest possible delay between asking a question and getting an answer, edge computing is the only way to reduce the time to insight. Edge computing shrinks this gap by lowering latency, dealing with data even when there is insufficient bandwidth, decreasing costs, and handling data sovereignty and compliance. While centralized cloud computing will persist, the radically different way in which we can create and act upon data at the edge of the network will and is creating novel markets and unlocking new value. By 2024, the edge computing market is expected to be worth over $9.0 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 30%.

However, to make these markets viable and fully unlock their potential will require taking into account the operational and business models that they require. While cloud computing has been able to rely upon centralization and economies of scale to construct the business model, edge computing needs a new paradigm. With hardware and software spread across hundreds or thousands of locations, the only feasible way to manage these distributed systems is through standardization and automation.

Managing distributed computing systems is not new to IT, precursing and some would say bringing about the internet, but the scale and complexity demanded by edge computing are novel. Beyond just the sheer number of locations, edge computing must also take into account harsh environments outside traditional antiseptic datacenters, remote or unreachable locations, spotty connections, dynamic provisioning, global data experience, and security risks. Beyond these technical challenges also lie the business ones. When examining the edge as a business, it quickly becomes clear that they need to be as close to zero-touch environments as possible because every truck roll can take a massive dent out of the margins.

How can we make edge computing feasible?

While cloud native technologies were born in the cloud, the operating and business paradigms they enable will make edge computing possible. Looking at the cloud native definition, we find that standardization, like immutable infrastructure and declarative APIs, combined with robust automation create manageable systems that require minimal toil. This standardization and automation are key to making edge computing both operationally and financially viable.

At the core of the cloud native ecosystem is Kubernetes. It was originally designed as a loosely coupled system with a declarative API and built-in reconciliation loops. These two features make Kubernetes perfectly suited for edge computing. First, it provides a standardized API to do the lifecycle management of hardware and software across disparate infrastructure and locations. Rather than having to redesign compute and applications for each use case or location, they can be designed once and deployed many times. This will allow businesses to easily scale around the world to meet their customers at their doorstep. Second, the reconciliation loops automate manual tasks to construct a zero touch environment with self-healing infrastructure and applications. Leveraging Kubernetes to provide standardization and automation of infrastructure and applications at the edge will allow companies to scale through software rather than people. This opens up new business models that were previously too expensive to be feasible.

The path to cloud native automation

In working with the most successful enterprises in the world, they tell us the four main challenges they face are:

  • Consistent infrastructure to reduce snowflake servers
  • Unstable products
  • Retaining and recruiting talent to build and maintain edge computing architectures

These IT leaders know that automation in the deployment and management of applications greatly improves stability, innovation rate, and costs. They wisely recognize that going cloud native is the path to achieving their edge computing goals.

One consistent theme is that they all have ambitious edge computing goals but most are stuck in the proof of concept stage or have only implemented a handful of applications.

Ambitious goals, but service providers are often stuck in POC or struggling to manage edge clusters

When stuck, these companies have not yet crossed the chasm of IT automation on the edge.

Companies get stuck at the chasm for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Underestimating the complexity of edge computing
  2. Not adopting the new operational models required for edge computing
  3. Failing to invest in winning the hearts and minds of the existing team to retool their skillset around cloud native automation

We help companies crossing this chasm, with Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform, our enterprise Kubernetes on the edge management platform. With our effort and that of our partners in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation ecosystem, we predict that the chasm will be crossed and that in the next three years, enterprises across every major vertical industry adopt edge computing. By January 2023, edge computing will become pervasive across every industry vertical.

Crossing the edge in your organization

Kubermatic is known for Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform. By demand from our enterprise clients, we also created training and consulting to support enterprises’ cloud native journey. We help companies cross the chasm of edge computing automation adoption in the three critical areas of:

  • Designing an edge computing strategy and architecture
  • Mastering cloud native tooling, including Kubernetes
  • Leveling up the team culture and thinking towards automated operations

To accelerate the edge computing automation journey, we offer consulting accelerator and training accelerator packages. These engagements last from 2 to 11.5 days and our enterprise customers have shared it has shaved off on average 4-6 months of their learning curve.

An example of Kubermatic’s accelerator packages are:

When tapping Kubermatic in their edge computing journey, enterprises are working with one of the top cloud native automation companies in Europe and a lead contributor to the Kubernetes project in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Moreover, we were recently highlighted for Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform’s role in delivering 5G edge computing capability in the KubeCon North America Keynote.

At the start of this new decade, now is the time to think about your edge computing goals and where your IT organization is on the cloud native automation journey. Here are a few questions to help you:

  • Do you have an edge computing strategy, roadmap, and architecture in place?
  • Have you won the hearts and minds of your IT organization to transform their skills, mindsets, and processes?
  • Does your team have the technical skills for Kubernetes and other cloud native automation tools?

If you surface any challenges in your plans contact us and we will help you resolve these challenges and greatly accelerate your journey to edge computing automation.

Learn more about our Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform and request a demo to learn more

Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform is an enterprise software platform company that enables enterprises and service providers to deliver automated IT operations. Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform automates thousands of Kubernetes clusters across any infrastructure including the edge with unparalleled density and resilience. With Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform, developers work with the cloud native stack they prefer and have freedom of choice and a consistent experience across all environments. By automating operations, teams focus on writing the next generation of ground-breaking applications, not daily operations.

Bill Mulligan

Bill Mulligan

Business Developer