Edge Networking: Your 4-Step Checklist to Becoming Future-Proof

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Edge Networking Checklist

Why you need to focus on edge networking

You may already be witnessing a shift toward more advanced edge networking. The industry is realizing the drawbacks of traditional core-to-edge configurations, such as high latency due to bottlenecking and increased workloads on the data center. Networks are becoming even more distributed and connected, which has ushered in the reimagining of conventional networking and processing.

According to Gartner, “more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud” by 2022.

You can no longer rely on edge locations to simply deliver all data to the core for processing. As more information is generated at distributed locations, your data center will become overwhelmed should you continue using a traditional approach. This is why it’s important to bolster your edge networks with processing and other capabilities that will help balance the workload.

What does the future of edge networking look like?

The future of edge networking will help you and your users realize benefits like:

  • Improved responsiveness due to decreased latency
  • Better, faster performance due to optimized bandwidth
  • Secure & reliable global access using modern technologies

Instead of waiting for data to be processed at the core, your edge users will get a more responsive experience. Both internal and external users will be able to take advantage of locally-stored & processed information that’s readily available when they need it. On top of this, you’ll be able to provide better global access using the latest methodologies & tech, which will keep users & information secure regardless of your expanded network presence.

#1 Get edgified

Better edge networking starts with laying sturdy groundwork. Build a strong platform using edgified hardware, software, and management capabilities that let you do more at the edge. Here’s more about these key areas:

Hardware

  • Choose appliances that make deployments easy, with features like zero touch provisioning over WAN. Even untrained staff can simply connect & boot these appliances, and automation configures the rest.
  • Look for multi-function, all-in-one devices that can perform networking and computing/storage tasks. All of these functions will be critical to your future edge.
  • Select secure hardware that comes with security built in. Make sure your boxes come with CPUs from trusted providers like Intel®, which allow you to maintain integrity of all your hardware & software integrations.
Software

  • Ensure your hardware comes with a powerful software layer capable of performing multiple critical functions. Don’t settle for purpose-built devices & simple operating systems.
  • Virtualized network functions (VNFs) are the future. Choose software that lets you deploy virtual solutions for SD-WAN, firewalls, IoT, and more, using a powerful hypervisor that supports Guest OS & Docker containers.
  • Optimize using automation. Your software should accommodate popular automation tools like Ansible, Puppet, RESTful, & others. This will help you automate deployments, troubleshooting, and more to provide better experiences for all your users.
Management

  • Make sure your management solution is comprehensive and gives you control of multiple layers.
  • Get remote out-of-band access to your networking solutions, regardless of which vendors they’re from.
  • Choose a remote out-of-band solution that also lets you control your infrastructure, so you can update firmware, patch configurations, etc.

#2 Get protected

Increasing your global network footprint helps you accommodate users into the future. But it also means increasing your vulnerability to attacks. Here are some ways to stay protected regardless of how distributed and complex your edge networks become:

Hardware

  • Carefully select edgified hardware that keeps your data secure before, during, and after deployments.
  • Gain the ability to track and secure your appliances. Get devices with built-in GPS tracking and geofencing, so you can know your investment’s location and ensure safe booting only after appliances reach their destination.
  • Get a secure platform that doesn’t require pre-configuring. Choose hardware that comes with secure boot, self-encrypted disk, signed OS, and trusted platform module.
Zero Trust Security

  • Implement a thorough zero trust security model that secures every point of network access. This means always verifying users & devices, even those already within your organization.
  • Deploy micro-segments and software-defined perimeters (SD-P) that let users access only resources they need for their job.
  • Use multi-factor authentication and network monitoring to protect interactions. This ensures your enterprise adheres to a proper identity-based approach to zero trust security.

#3 Become adaptable

Extensibility directly impacts your organization’s ability to adapt. Because edge networking is still a young landscape, leading vendors and technologies will continue to emerge. You can’t lock yourself into a single provider’s solution, and instead must remain flexible to the volatile edge networking market.

  • Adopt a platform that offers wide-ranging extensibility. The more flexible you become, the better.
  • Choose truly vendor-neutral software that lets you extend capabilities with third-party & custom solutions — no matter which vendors they’re from.
  • Ensure extensibility that accommodates in-depth customization. The future of edge networking will require more unique environments than ever before, and you’ll need a platform that you can tailor to your exact requirements — regardless of how much they change.

#4 Evolve your data

Enormous amounts of data are coming your way (if they haven’t already). It will become critical to optimize your data processing and information lifecycle management capabilities. With valuable data being processed and available, you’ll be able to provide the appropriate information to all of your systems and users.

  • Place more processing and storage capabilities close to the edge. This will help you alleviate your stressed data center and help operations perform more efficiently in the future.
  • Deploy analytics and monitoring solutions at the edge. These solutions will be able to find data that’s valuable and ensure availability to appropriate systems and users, for more responsive user experiences.
  • Again, choose a platform that’s extensible and accommodates custom or third-party data management solutions. Your requirements will change and your capabilities will evolve, so it’s critical to have more room to adapt and grow.

Ready for the future?

Set up a Nodegrid demo and see how to get a head start on the future. You’ll see how Nodegrid’s hardware & software deliver all of the capabilities you need and meet the requirements outlined in this checklist.