One of the top five must-haves in an Edge as a Service (EaaS) solution is outstanding business value – meaning your EaaS solution provider should deliver this along with all the other benefits of edge computing, including improved performance, security, reliability, – so ultimately – it must deliver return on investment (ROI).
There are many different metrics that can be used to determine ROI. Some, such as the revenue payback from increased performance and improved uptime, or the decreased cost associated with team efficiency and resource utilization efficiency, are more obvious. Others, like time to market, or reduced attack surface, can be more difficult to recognize and assess. Let’s look at a few of the latter as they apply to edge computing.
Consistent Security Plane
Security is a top concern for every company today. Yet a consistent security plane might not immediately come to mind as a crucial ROI component for an edge platform. An EaaS solution should be designed with protection in mind, providing excellent defense against a diverse set of threats across the infrastructure, network, transport, and application layers. And in an edge computing paradigm that’s made up of heterogeneous networks of providers and infrastructure, EaaS solutions must be able to protect applications across a diverse footprint.
As cybersecurity threats continue to increase in sophistication and scale, it’s becoming both harder and more critical to protect against attacks and prevent breaches. Yet sooner or later, organizations that fail to do so will suffer a significant blow to not just their information systems, but inevitably their reputations and their bottom lines. When evaluating edge solutions, application builders should look for solutions that take a security-first approach at the platform level.
Core Product Focus
Let’s say you’re a technical product lead tasked to improve the application experience for customers. Common areas of focus will be application latency and responsiveness, and moving workloads and data closer to the user (i.e., to the edge) is an obvious solution.
Less obvious, however, is that the wrong edge deployment strategy may put you in the business of managing a distributed network. As importantly, this means it is taking away from resources that could be better spent improving the application itself. In simple terms, what you’ve gained in performance and scale, you’ve lost in application functionality and features.
With an EaaS solution to handle all your edge computing requirements, your development teams will have more capacity to focus on core product innovation to drive company growth. As your business grows, your EaaS solution should expand with you – enabling you to continually provide responsive and reliable applications.
Fastest Time to Market
Many organizations are already rushing to modernize applications with multi-cluster Kubernetes deployments. But if your software solution is currently hosted in a single cloud instance, what happens when your customer base starts to scale and expand globally? The right edge solution can be a natural and immediate extension of an existing multi-cluster strategy, allowing you to leapfrog centralized cloud deployments to achieve significant benefits in performance, scalability, resilience, isolation and more.
The key is that the chosen edge platform needs to allow you to deploy your distributed application fast, without the headaches of network provisioning and ideally without having to change your development cycles, process or tooling.
Conversely, a more complex deployment will delay time to revenue (and thus ROI) because of complex onboarding / deployment processes. If there’s a bottleneck in onboarding because it’s too complex for your customers or there’s a long cycle to get an existing application to production on edge, the ratio of Time to Value over Time to Revenue could suffer.
The modern edge provides for a significantly better application experience, but only if it can be simple and affordable to adopt. Given the extreme complexities involved with building and operating distributed systems, it’s imperative to find an EaaS solution that will help cost-effectively accelerate your path to edge.
In economic terms, a sunk cost is one that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. In making decisions, it’s important to recognize that these costs must be treated as bygone and not taken into consideration when investing in a project. This is an important consideration when considering deployment strategies because all things being equal, the distributed edge always beats centralized cloud. Always, and across every metric – except simplicity. If you can conquer that one factor, your application is always better off at the edge. If you can’t, then the decision is less clear.
From an ROI perspective these issues of simplicity and sunk cost can be eye opening. If the edge becomes as simple to deploy to as centralized cloud, and you know that your application workload will improve across every meaningful metric – scalability, performance, latency, resiliency, compliance, cost, etc. – by moving to the edge, then your centralized cloud deployment should be treated as a sunk cost, one in which further investment actually decreases returns. Think of it as good money after bad.
Long story short… All things being equal, the distributed edge beats centralized cloud every time. But is it possible to realize edge outcomes quickly and easily without having to sacrifice control, simplicity or flexibility?
And we can help. Here at Section, we’re committed to helping organizations make their edge ROI dreams a reality, simply.