What’s the fastest way to the edge?

  • Red Hat is proposing a hybrid cloud environment is the ideal way to exploit edge capabilities for enterprises
  • It has announced a series of products and capabilities to support this approach
  • It says Kubernetes will scale and extend across environments without bias

There are several ways to the edge from the hyperscale network. One is to use a hybrid cloud architecture to create stepping stones, or as Red Hat describes it, “an open cloud backbone.”

Today it’s announced a series of ‘products and capabilities’  designed to help enterprises launch edge computing strategies using this approach. 

It claims Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes will equip organisations to manage demanding edge workloads which make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in industrial manufacturing use cases. The hybrid approach will allow organisations  to more seamlessly manage and scale hybrid cloud environments from a single point, it claims.

Red Hat says those new capabilities intended for edge use cases include:

  • 3-node cluster support within Red Hat OpenShift 4.5, bringing the full capabilities of enterprise Kubernetes to bear at the network’s edge in a smaller footprint. Combining supervisor and worker nodes, 3-node clusters scale down the size of a Kubernetes deployment without compromising on capabilities, making it ideal for edge sites that are space-constrained while still needing the breadth of Kubernetes features.
  • Management of thousands of edge sites with Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes along with core sites via a single consistent view across the hybrid cloud making highly scaled-out edge architectures as manageable, consistent, compliant and secure as standard datacenter deployments.
  • Evolving the operating system to meet the demands of the edge with the continued leadership and innovation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, backed by the platform’s long history of running remote workloads.

“Kubernetes is designed to scale and extend across environments without bias, providing the same operational consistency at the edge as it does in the cloud,” says the company.  “The open standards from which Kubernetes is derived offer high levels of interoperability and compatibility with existing core datacenter systems, while the flexible nature of the container orchestration engine mean it can serve as a launchpad for even newer innovations.

However, while hybrid cloud feels like an unstoppable force right now, it does have some ‘“Whoa, hold on there...” voices to contend with. Security concerns around hybrid cloud have become noticeable talking points with domain experts urging caution over what they see as a ‘rush’ towards hybrid architectures. Security specialists like McAfee note that going hybrid introduces more management complexity and with complexity comes new security challenges. Naturally it has solutions for enterprises to scale out their security to cope.

Edge is unlikely to become any less important

“Edge computing helps organizations scale their infrastructure, supports new latency-sensitive applications and fuels innovation with data insights by processing data closer to the source,” says Red Hat. This exposes the need  for computing to move from centralized data centers to  distributed locations so that computing actions, including data processing and analysis, are taken closer to the producer or consumer of data and insights, rather than at a central datacenter, thus avoiding latency, bandwidth constraints and other challenges.

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