Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analyst’s Take
- About Alastair Cooke
- About GigaOm
Edge deployments are among the most dispersed hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) environments, with small clusters at many locations and usually without technical staff readily available. One area of differentiation is between near edge and far edge. The near edge is a data center that’s not on-premises, while far-edge locations typically depend on the function. Near-edge deployments could be in co-location or telco data centers spread around the country or around the world. Far-edge environments might be in trucks, retail stores, or oil exploration platforms. The available facilities vary greatly among these locations, and so there is variation as well among solutions.
The usual data center HCI vendors are well represented for near-edge environments, which require rack-mount servers and extensive resources. Just like in an on-premises data center, HCI at the near edge is a general-purpose platform that accommodates multiple applications. The difference is that there tend to be far more edge locations than on-premises data centers and visiting these locations for maintenance is usually impractical, so hands-off management of large numbers of HCI clusters is essential.
The far edge requires hardware that does not rely on the niceties of a data center; power, cooling, and space may all be limited. Far-edge clusters are also more likely to run exclusively custom applications. Often, applications are deployed in containers, with or without Kubernetes, alongside virtual machines (VMs) or possibly without any VM-based applications. At the far edge, hands-off management may not be enough; these locations may require hands-off deployment for clusters never visited by IT staff. Finally, far-edge locations may have only intermittent connectivity and must be able to operate for extended periods in disconnected mode. For example, a fishing boat on a two-week expedition might have internet connectivity only when in port.
The more established server vendors may have some products not included in this report that target the far edge, not relying on their data center-focused HCI to scale down to far-edge requirements. The data center HCI products still operate at the near edge where rack-mount servers are viable and consistency with data center HCI platforms is beneficial. Whether your environment consists of 500 clusters in 500 telco points of presence (PoPs), or 10,000 delivery trucks, edge deployments scale out. Policy-based management of large numbers of clusters is vital. Automation of every aspect of operations and application updates is essential.
This GigaOm Radar report highlights key edge HCI vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.