Edge computing usage is starting to increase. See my previous posting from September 2019 that illustrates what is driving this network change. The obvious follow-up question is, "So, what can I do with edge computing?" I'm glad you asked. There are lots of things you can do.
In fact, here are six fundamental use cases that you allow you to:
1. Improve network visibility
2. Improve network performance monitoring
3. Reduce the cost of MPLS circuits for transport
4. Improve troubleshooting capabilities
5. Enhance endpoint security
6. Upgrade compliance support
Improving network visibility is the first use case. Use of IP enables NOC engineers to see all the way out to the edge of the network. They can use application intelligence to look at application performance and NetFlow information to these locations. Currently, many (maybe most) enterprises lose visibility for the "last mile" of their network. This is especially true when using Telco circuits.
So why is this important? Are there potential problems (outages) getting ready to happen? Without visibility — who knows. It's easy to know once it happens but this puts IT into a reactive position that consumes more time, more money, and creates unnecessary problems for customers and senior management. It would be better if you could start to "see" the problem before everything goes bad.
Taking this one step further, a network packet broker (NPB) equipped with proactive performance monitoring features integrated into the architecture provides the NOC with an easy way to check latent network performance and also the ability to actively test performance at will all the way to the edge using synthetic traffic.
Network and IT teams need remote access to server and network traffic activity for performance monitoring and troubleshooting. Active monitoring (also known as "synthetic monitoring") is used to actively monitor latency/performance of WAN/SD-WAN links. This type of tool simulates traffic by sending synthetic packet data to various endpoints across the network to measure performance metrics.
Enterprises also want to reduce, if not eliminate, MPLS circuit costs and move to IP links. Remote sites typically have low speed internet access (100 MB). IP gives them more flexibility, less headaches (as they don't have to strip off MPLS headers), and lower cost to get IP links from ISPs and CLECs.
Troubleshooting can also be improved with edge computing. The shift to IP links allows the NOC to use IP-based tools and application intelligence to troubleshoot problems as fast as possible, all the way to the edge of the network.
Network security can be improved by placing next generation firewalls (NGFW) right up to the edge. A NPB is very useful here to integrate the security device along with other edge devices and capabilities into the network.
With regard to regulatory compliance, several organizations (including utilities) require that all control traffic to remotely manageable systems to be monitored, logged and analyzed. Data needs to be replicated and sent to different locations. A small NPB and taps can be placed at the last routing hop, or even the last switch and the controller.
Join the "shift" and live on the edge!
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