Stratus Unveils Edge Computing Strategy

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 01, 2017

edge

With more than 90 percent of industrial companies wanting a simplified edge infrastructure that can be remotely managed, Stratus Technologies, a global leader in continuous availability solutions for mission-critical applications, unveiled its edge computing product strategy and direction at IoT Tech Expo, in Santa Clara, California.

This strategy includes the latest version of Stratus’ flagship product, ftServer, along with a preview of a converged edge system, which offers enhanced remote management services in a rugged and easy-to-deploy form factor. Ideal for users in industrial automation (IA) or in distributed enterprises deploying Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, these products simplify the continuous availability and remote management of mission-critical edge applications, whether in the data center, on the plant floor or at the network edge, saving customers time and money.

By delivering a series of highly available edge compute solutions, Stratus addresses the growing need for more intelligent systems at the edge, as demonstrated by a new worldwide market report by ARC Advisory Group. In that study, 91 percent of IA users surveyed stated having better systems and connectivity at the edge will enable improved real-time decision making. Yet, more than 90 percent also indicated that, as edge computing grows, organizations will need a simplified edge infrastructure that can be remotely managed.

To address this, Stratus has released version nine of ftServer, its intelligent, self-monitoring and self-diagnosing edge server. It will also introduce in 2018 a new family of multi-function, virtualized, converged edge systems, designed with OT end-user requirements in mind. The combination of ftServer and the forthcoming OT systems provides a comprehensive set of edge solutions ideal for customers deploying IA, IIoT or IoT applications.

This set of edge solutions and Stratus’ overall vision for multi-tiered edge computing align with the outcomes of the ARC study in which OT end users confirmed that their IIoT deployments will be comprised of a mix of edge and cloud-based technologies. In fact, approximately 60 percent of survey respondents said they plan to take a hybrid approach by balancing future investments in the edge with smaller investments in the cloud.

Experts believe, unlike cloud computing, where data is transferred to a centralized location where it is processed and is then sent back to the requester, edge computing is a decentralized information technology architecture, in which the data processing happens at the source of the data. It is a paradigm where the computing is performed at the edge of the network, as close to the originating source as possible, hence the name edge computing.

It is used in verticals or segments that use massive amount of data. Take for example a self-driving car. These autonomous cars have hundreds of sensors in it, which is estimated to generate huge volumes of data for every hour of driving. These sensors embedded in the vehicle store information such as environmental data, data related to other vehicles on the road, navigational and coordinates data, and much more, and needs to have computational and analytical capabilities of its own, which is a primary application of edge computing.

According the ARC Market Report, the demand for edge computing is real and growing. As more data-intensive compute workloads are pushed to the edge, real-time remote management and a simplified edge infrastructure are crucial for success. 

Dave Laurello, CEO, Stratus said “The more automated and connected applications become, the more critical it is for customers to have a highly reliable, continuously available and operationally simple edge infrastructure to drive true IIoT business value. Plant operators, in particular, don’t want to adopt, implement and manage complicated edge technology that requires specific expertise or talent. The more self-managing the infrastructure, the more desirable it is, reducing the need for dedicated resources at each plant. We listened to the needs of our IA and IIoT customers and partners across both discrete as well as continuous process manufacturing, and that’s exactly what we are delivering.”

Craig Resnick, analyst and vice president, ARC Advisory Group shared, “Operational issues such as improving asset performance management to improve both production as well as reduce unplanned downtime will drive end users to deploy edge computing. And, the companies who are quick to take advantage of self-managed, edge computing infrastructures will be better able to unlock the data that has long been stranded inside machines and processes. They’ll also be better able to quickly identify production inefficiencies, compare product quality against manufacturing conditions and pinpoint potential safety, production, or environmental issues. Remotely managing this edge infrastructure will immediately connect operators with off-site experts to more quickly resolve, or better yet avoid, downtime events. The benefit is freeing operations people and IT staff to perform their respective roles versus distracting them from their fields of expertise.”