Discussion around hyperconverged infrastructure’s (HCI) capabilities for multi-access edge computing (MEC) has increased during the past year. As SDxCentral editor Jessica Lyons Hardcastle states concerning HCI’s simpler management and reduced data center footprints characteristics: “It makes sense that systems, which combine core storage and compute functionality into a single, highly virtualized platform, would play well in remote and branch offices (ROBO) and network-edge locations.”
Edge computing is computing conducted at a network’s edge. A variety of sources may establish an edge, (hence the multi-access in the name) including routers, microdata centers, and radio towers to name a few. MEC situates computing closer to the end-user, thus decreasing latency and increasing reliable connectivity. It’s envisioned to be used in conjunction with 5G to support the wide-ranging Internet of Things (IoT) devices predicted to be online within a few years.
HCI is a software-defined storage (SDS) architecture that combines the compute, storage, and networking functions. It’s sold as an all-in-one product, or it may be built out to an enterprise’s specifications. HCI systems are more agile, scalable, and flexible than traditional storage systems. Enterprises choose to operate HCI systems over traditional storage systems because they are scalable, flexible and offer fast deployment options, features that are ideal for cloud computing and ROBO networking.
HCI MEC Capabilities: The Advantages of HCI for MEC
HCI possesses several characteristics that benefit MEC. Here’s a summary of how HCI helps deliver MEC.
- As Scale Computing notes, “for any remote sites [such as edge computing locations], but particularly when there are dozens or hundreds of sites, you need a solution that can be deployed easily and rapidly.” HCI offers a quicker deployment period compared with the traditional data center.
- An attractive feature of HCI is its increased data protection. With MEC and 5G used for IoT devices, such as smart homes and autonomous cars, the need for effective data protection is even more urgent than what it already is.
- Edge computing allows the transfer of data to occur in real-time. The predicted surge in data transfers from networking requires a robust system for data gathering and analyzing. Since HCI combines the storage, compute, and networking functions into a unified system, it also consolidates the analytics into a single pane of glass.
- The simplicity of HCI is a strong selling point for technology. In addition to HCI’s single pane of glass for monitoring data, its “plug-and-play nature eliminates many of the configuration and networking hassles that would be a nightmare on the edge.”