Edge storage explained: 7 expert tips to help you move data to the edge
Understand the role of edge storage and how to enhance data management at the edge
Do you have a growing need to move data closer to the edge?
You’re not alone. By 2025, more than 40% of enterprise storage will be deployed at the edge, which is a significant increase from 15% in 2022, according to Gartner®[i].
Edge storage solutions have become increasingly popular. By keeping data closer to the location where it is being used, edge storage solutions offer lower latency, which leads to faster data access and retrieval – greatly improving real-time applications like IoT devices, mobile technology, and autonomous vehicles. Additionally, edge storage enhances data security, increases operational efficiency, and helps bandwidth-sensitive applications. This technology also eliminates the trombone effect of a centralized data center storage model, resulting in improved system reliability and better user experience.
Furthermore, sensitive information is kept within its country of origin to comply with regulations like GDPR that mandate user data protection and limit cross-border transfer.
Edge storage also reduces bandwidth costs and mitigates the risk of network failures, as data doesn’t always need to be sent back to a central server for processing. It’s an integral part of edge computing strategies, helping organizations manage the massive influx of data generated by today’s digital technologies.
Storing data locally for efficient processing and analysis
Edge storage devices are designed to store data at the edge of the network, near the source of data generation, instead of sending data over a network to a centralized storage system or cloud. These devices typically use solid-state drives (SSDs) or next-generation NVMe SSD. The data stored on edge devices can be processed locally or moved to a central location for further analysis as needed.
Overall, edge storage is a key component in the effectiveness of edge computing, helping to improve the speed, efficiency, and reliability of your IT network. Some benefits include:
- Reducing the need to transmit large amounts of data across the network with bandwidth optimization.
- Processing data in real-time or near real-time, enabled by reduced latency.
- Improving security and limiting data exposure by storing at the edge of the network, as it doesn’t have to travel across the network to a central location.
Seven expert tips to make your move to the edge
1. Understand your business needs
IT decision makers and infrastructure and operations IT professionals need to understand the specific needs of your organization. This includes the amount of data you manage, the speed at which you need to access it, and what kind of data analytics capabilities you require.
2. Assess your current infrastructure
Evaluate the current IT infrastructure to determine your organization’s readiness for implementing edge storage. This includes identifying potential challenges and gaps, such as network capacity, security, and data management capabilities.
3. Protect with data security
Implement robust security measures to protect sensitive data. This includes encryption, access controls, and regular security audits. Edge storage can be a target for cyberattacks, so having a strong security strategy in place is crucial.
4. Choose the right solution
Not all edge storage solutions are created equal. It’s important to select a solution that aligns with your unique requirements, initiatives, and budget. Factors to consider include scalability, performance, security, and cost.
5. Implement a pilot program
Before going all in, it could be beneficial to start with a pilot program. This allows you to see how well the edge storage solution works within your infrastructure and what kind of challenges you might face.
6. Conduct regular maintenance and updates
Once implemented, regular maintenance and software updates are necessary for the smooth operation of edge storage. This helps optimize storage performance and ensure data security.
7. Plan for data governance
With edge storage, data governance becomes more complex due to decentralization. Develop a clear data governance policy that outlines how data is collected, stored, accessed, and used. This will help ensure compliance with data privacy regulations and maintain data integrity.
How industries can benefit from edge storage solutions now and in the future
Edge storage has many use cases across different industries to solve today’s data challenges.
In the manufacturing industry, edge storage is used for real-time quality control and optimization. Sensors on assembly lines can detect faults and anomalies, storing the data locally for immediate analysis and troubleshooting.
In agriculture, sensors and GPS on farming equipment increase crop yields and reduce costs on fertilizers and pesticides. Field sensors gather data on soil conditions, weather, and crop health, which is stored locally for instant analysis and action.
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics will contribute to a growing emphasis on data-driven decision-making. This will fuel the need for edge storage and technologies like STaaS and SDS, as these technologies enable efficient storage, management, and analysis of large datasets.
Finally, as more organizations move operations to the cloud, the demand for storage as a service (STaaS) and software-defined storage (SDS) will increase. These technologies allow for cost-effective, scalable, and flexible storage solutions that are ideal for cloud computing environments.
Next steps for better edge storage and improved sustainability
With a forecasted growth in the usage of SSDs and cloud storage, organizations can complement sustainability efforts with your storage plans. Leverage ‘inherent sustainability,’ which is the result of doing a technology refresh on storage systems. By upgrading, you help meet sustainability requirements, as the newer storage technology provides larger capacity and lower latency and utilizes less power and energy to run.
For those enterprises leveraging cloud storage solutions such as hybrid cloud storage, STaaS, or SDS, one way to improve sustainability is by using third-party data center providers like Digital Reality or Equinix. These companies have mandates and policies to use 100% renewable energy to run their data centers. As a result, you can leverage these certifications and showcase your sustainability commitment.
SHI offers next-gen IT infrastructure services including hybrid data centers, networking, data management, and cloud services, helping you accelerate modernization, protect and store data, and support sustainability goals. Solve tomorrow’s challenges today with our strong data storage and protection partnerships.
Contact our storage specialists to request your storage health check and develop a storage lifecycle success plan. Our experts will help you select, deploy, and manage leading IT solutions securely and seamlessly, moving you closer to the edge.