With the need for reduced latency, data contextualization and more data available at the source, the industrial edge is critical to data collection, analytics and operations management across devices. This explosive amount of data from all connected edge devices offers tremendous advantages but how do you manage and orchestrate the volume of information, devices and apps? Edge management is the next frontier to accelerate deployments and enable AI-driven process optimization.
Why Edge Computing Matters
According to Gartner, digital transformation is is pushing enterprises to be more distributed and expand to the edge. ”By 2025, more than 50% of enterprise-managed data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud,” Gartner predicts in Gartner – Distributed Enterprise Drives Computing to the Edge | Equinix Analyst Reports
Edge lies at the intersection of IT and OT where the digital and physical worlds converge. It offers the best of both local and cloud computing because it happens near the physical location where data is collected and analyzed.
Local computing at the edge combats the challenges of latency, intermittent connections and expensive data backhaul required for analytics. But execution at the edge provides benefits with new challenges such as maintenance, security from tampering and lifecycle management.
With FactoryTalk® Edge™ Manager, Rockwell Automation offers a new software as a service (SaaS) solution to make the edge easier with these important capabilities:
- Secured management plane and independent data plane
- End-to-end offering connecting intelligent devices to edge hardware and cloud software
- Robust device and fleet management
- Marketplace of industrial edge applications
This modern software delivers higher productivity and efficiency for managing edge devices and app deployment from one single source, lowering the security threat with a zero-trust model. It also provides flexibility for complex use cases and caters to nearly any hardware or cloud provider.
Business outcomes from the managed edge include:
- Affordable access to data
- Faster software deployments
- Future-ready analytic platform
- Improved security posture
- Better scaling of DX initiatives
- Reduced total cost of ownership
The Potential of Edge in Digital Transformation is Clear
In the past, experts foresaw that IT and OT operations would move to the cloud and in the last five years there has been tremendous movement to the cloud in the IT sector with OT lagging. But that’s now rapidly changing and OT is accelerating even faster than IT. New technology in the form of edge computing is enabling this trend that will bring OT and IT even closer together. With SaaS in the cloud and at the edge, FactoryTalk Edge Manager gives edge computing a new role because it retains connectivity between OT systems and the cloud.
Because of this trend, there are more and more digital assets and a lot more data being created on the plant floor. These fast-changing dynamics bring a continued focus on simplification, efficiency and security.
- Increased data creation and processing
More digitalization of interactions and instrumentation of assets at distributed touchpoints
- Increased demand for reduced latency and processing outside cloud
Digital business solutions increasingly want more data distribution outside data centers
- Need to push data security, quality and lifecycle management to the edge
Teams deem it critical to include edge-resident data workloads and governance practices
Edge as part of the Connected Enterprise® Production System
As part of what experts anticipate as the next five moves for software acceleration, the edge will expand, enrich and expose industrial data and realize new sources of value with apps and analytics. The FactoryTalk® data, edge and analytics platform is a comprehensive edge-to-cloud platform for improved business outcomes. The new solution will:
Onboard and manage edge devices and fleets
- Provision edge devices with a single step
- Visualize the status of edge devices from any cloud location
- Drill down to any single device or manage them as a fleet
Publish edge apps
- Curate public or private apps (bring your own or partner apps)
- Deploy containerized/VM/Cluster-aware apps
- Share applications with your organization
Drive excellent IT and OT convergence
- Give your industrial edge data meaning with the FactoryTalk® Edge Gateway™ app—included with FactoryTalk Edge Manager
- Connect to disparate data sources, add OT context, assemble a flexible data model and push it into an upstream IT application
- Leverage higher-quality data to drive industrial outcomes
What You Need for Edge Management
First, you need to build an edge compute strategy based on your present and future goals. Why do you want to go to the edge? Is it because you want to collect data or because you want to execute analytics? Or some combination of the two?
Prepare to scale to the edge by determining your strategy and then maximizing your edge deployment success with IT and OT working together. Next, make sure that you can actively discover and identify all devices. And, once deployed, edge devices need to pull information from HMIs, PLCs, drives and databases. You’ll also need to manage the deployment of apps to edge – not just for the data gateways – and manage the device lifecycle. When thinking about edge management, it’s critical to reduce your attack surface so that it’s not only as secure but more secure than before. And do this with one tool.