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Exploring what’s next in tech – Insights, information, and ideas for today’s IT and business leaders

Crushing edge complexity with automation

New automation technologies provide a way to effectively manage the complexities of evolving edge infrastructures.

Just a few years ago, a power supply issue at a major airline data center led to a cascading series of problems that crashed its IT and business operations worldwide, canceling thousands of flights and stranding tens of thousands of passengers. It was a public relations disaster that in large part resulted from a relatively minor issue—re-plugging a power outlet—that could not be identified and managed quickly enough before its consequences spiraled out of control.

And despite the notoriety of the event and its obvious business repercussions, something just like it can still happen at any moment to any organization.

Traditional enterprise technology infrastructures are just too complex to manage. Despite decades of investment in tools and systems, the current IT management landscape is siloed and more complex than ever. In an Enterprise Strategy Group survey, more than 60 percent of IT decision-makers said their infrastructures were more complex than they were just two years earlier. And in another study, more than three-fourths of survey respondents said the complexity of their environments presented the biggest barrier to the productivity of their IT operations.

A new IT landscape

The enterprise technology environment cannot be managed effectively or efficiently without help. Across the board, the decentralization of network systems and compute resources has upended the game. The requirements of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, and edge architectures exceed the capabilities of data systems that were never designed to handle them. And all these trends are dramatically accelerating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overnight, enterprises challenged with managing a fragmented IT landscape find themselves in a world in which their entire workforce now works from home. That same phenomenon is driving a renewed urgency for accelerating digital transformation. But perhaps most challenging is the proliferation of new edge devices and infrastructures: Nearly 9 billion Internet-connected devices are in use today—and that number is projected to triple to nearly 56 billion by 2025.

Please read the report: Edge computing yields deeper insights, faster

Deploying IT workloads and supporting infrastructure across such a decentralized environment is a challenge that requires software management capabilities outside the typical enterprise data center. There are just too many devices to manage and too many issues that could occur, many of which cannot be understood. So complex and challenging is the situation that nearly 90 percent of business leaders surveyed said their organizations would need intelligent automation just to keep pace with changing business requirements.

The revolution will be automated

Automation offers businesses a way to gain control of digital transformation and the tsunami of new edge infrastructures. When automation combines with AI, the edge is transformed. It allows enterprises to take control and manage their edge infrastructures in much the same way they manage their on-prem data center and cloud operations.