In the third part of our interview on edge computing with Dominic Romeo, TierPoint Director of Product Management, we ask Dom what challenges organizations have to overcome when migrating workloads to the edge.

Read the first two posts in this series:

Part 1 - What Edge Computing Really Means

Part 2 - Where Do AWS and Azure Fit into the Edge Computing Picture?

Edge Migration Concerns

Let’s say you have a customer with their data housed in a data center on the east coast, and they want to migrate it to a TierPoint data center closer to their customer base in Nebraska. What are some of their concerns?

Romeo: Migration is huge. Customers usually know the outcome of the migration is going to be worth the effort, but it seems like an awful lot of work to get to where they need to be. While they know we can help, they’re the ones on the hook for getting it done.

Migrations are getting easier though. In the old days, you might have to plan to be down for forty-eight hours while you physically lifted a cabinet full of gear and moved it to a different data center. Or maybe you had to quiesce all your systems for a week while you copied data from one data center to another.

Now, vendors like Veeam and Zerto offer replication technologies that allow existing workloads to run in their current environments until that moment when you flip the switch to cut over to the new environment because all the data has been replicating in the background.

Zerto is a huge enabler for us. Just as an example, we can use Zerto to protect VMs that customers run on-premises in their enterprise data center or in a colocation environment and replicate them to TierPoint storage and TierPoint virtualization environments. This allows the enterprise to fully depreciate the equipment in an on-premises data center and then flip a switch and failover instantly to a TierPoint data center.

We can also help them pick a new location for their disaster recovery solution, whether that’s in another one of our data centers, or as is becoming increasingly common, an AWS or Azure environment. In some cases, they’ll transition over to us once their equipment is fully depreciated while they do a complete hardware refresh or pick a location for their new on-premises data center, and then we use Zerto to protect the VMs during migration again.

Multiple Workloads: An Edge Data Center Challenge?

When companies start leveraging edge data centers as opposed to housing workloads in one centralized enterprise data center, do you find that they end up with workloads spread across more data centers? And if so, what kinds of challenges does this create?

Romeo: Definitely. As you put more virtual servers out there or more data in different locations, it does get more difficult to manage those workloads. Virtualization has helped a lot with that because it’s created a common abstraction layer, and you can use tools to affect multiple machines at the same time, but there’s still a degree of extra effort involved.

This is changing somewhat with this notion of containerization and DevOps. In the past, we had to pay a lot of attention to how virtual machines were connected to the network, which storage resources they were connected to, which hosts they were running on, what kind of CPUs...

Those things are all going to remain important, but containers help alleviate some of the software inflexibility: I need to have the right version of my web server; I need to have the right version of my anti-virus; I need to have the right version of my applications. That’s even before I run my code on it. So, new technologies are helping to create new abstractions that help manage across multiple different platforms.

When you think about it, that’s really where we’re going with hybrid IT, right? The notion is to have someone like TierPoint be your managed service provider, no matter if you’re consuming their services in a TierPoint data center or in a hyperscale cloud. Potentially, this could even apply to a scenario where the customer houses their data in a third-party data center, but they use our services to manage it.

Learn more about Edge Computing

In our final installment of our interview with Dominic Romeo, we’ll discuss the impact of 5G networks on edge computing. Learn more about Edge Computing with our Strategic Guide to Edge Computing.

The Strategic Guide to Edge Computing: what is edge computing, how does it work and why does it matter? Read more.

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