Self-Learning Series Part 4: Explore the Open Design and Platform Architecture
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 14:53:00 -0000|
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Edge has a unique set of challenges that require a new way of architecting to solve them. Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm where data processing is performed closer to the data source or "edge" of the network, rather than relying solely on centralized cloud servers.
An open design fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration. It promotes flexibility and a more future-proof approach to edge computing. However, it's essential to carefully evaluate the specific requirements of the edge computing environment and choose the approach that best aligns with the organization's goals and constraints.
In this blog, we will help you understand how to get the most out of edge investments using an open design that works with software applications, IoT frameworks, multi-vendor operations technology solutions, and multicloud environments of your choice. This will allow you to consolidate technology silos and deliver consistent management experience across devices with connectivity out of the box.
A Unique Set of Challenges
When edge computing lacks an open design, it can face several challenges, including:
- Vendor Lock-In—Without open standards and interoperability, organizations may become locked into a specific vendor's proprietary solutions. This limits flexibility, hinders innovation, and leads to higher costs.
- Lack of Ecosystem—A closed system can stifle competition, reducing options and potentially raising prices.
- Security Concerns—Closed, proprietary systems may lack transparency, making it more difficult to assess and improve security.
- Scalability—Scalability is critical for edge computing, as the number of edge devices and their diversity can vary widely. Closed systems are more rigid and make it difficult to scale.
As a result, closed systems may limit the ability of developers and organizations to innovate and create customized edge computing solutions.
What Is Multicloud by Design?
Multicloud by design, also known as a multi-cloud strategy or multi-cloud architecture, is an intentional approach to utilizing multiple cloud service providers for various aspects of an organization's computing needs. In this strategy, a company deliberately chooses to use two or more cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to meet specific business requirements.
While multicloud offers numerous benefits, it also introduces complexities in terms of management, orchestration, and security. Organizations need to plan their multi-cloud strategy carefully, including workload placement, data synchronization, network configurations, and security measures, to ensure a successful and efficient implementation. Specialized tools and services designed for managing multi-cloud environments can assist in these efforts.
Watch the following video on how to optimize your edge investment:
A New Way of Architecting
Built on an open design, Dell NativeEdge offers the flexibility to choose the ISV applications and cloud environments for your edge application workloads. You can centrally and consistently deploy containerized and virtual applications using blueprints to work with your choice of IoT frameworks and OT vendors. Like everything else from Dell, NativeEdge is multicloud by design, enabling you to deploy applications across and new or existing environment.
Here are a few advantages of using an open design system:
- Flexibility—Open architectures allow organizations to choose from a variety of hardware, software, and services. This flexibility is particularly important in the dynamic edge computing environment, where the diversity of devices and use cases can vary.
- Avoiding Vendor Lock-In—With open designs, organizations are less likely to become locked into a single vendor's proprietary solutions. This reduces the risks associated with vendor dependency and enables businesses to switch or integrate different technologies more easily.
- Cost-Effectiveness—Open design often leads to cost-effective solutions. Open-source software and standards can reduce licensing fees and minimize the need for expensive proprietary hardware, helping organizations optimize their budgets.
- Scalability—Open architectures are typically designed with scalability in mind, making it easier to expand edge computing solutions as requirements grow or change.
- Security and Transparency—Open-source projects are transparent, allowing users to inspect the source code for security vulnerabilities. Community review and contributions help identify and address security issues promptly.
- Ecosystem Growth—An open design fosters a broader ecosystem of complementary software and hardware solutions, enhancing the availability of tools and services that can be integrated into the edge computing environment.
Edge Partner Ecosystem
We are working with partners to co-engineer and develop solutions that include software, partner intellectual property, products, and services. Dell also has some of the biggest, longest-standing partnerships in the industry with companies like Microsoft, Intel, and VMware.
When market-leading companies team together to create and offer validated, proven reference architectures, then we can help you mitigate risk and accelerate your time to revenue.
As an example, with NativeEdge, the Dell Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge using Telit Cinterion can be implemented and brought to market quicker, allowing for faster and more secure deployment, lower costs, increased security, and more reliable and repetitive outcomes based on the blueprints implemented. This allows for:
- Quicker data collection and analysis when deployed on-premises
- Increased integration of information from existing assets across all NativeEdge-enabled Devices
- Simpler configuration
- Simplified connection of devices
By removing the complexity of deployment and adding the element of application-level lifecycle management, NativeEdge reduces the amount of physical touch required and creates a repeatable deployment process at scale.
Dell Technologies will continue to foster partnerships to develop open software that enables interoperability and ease of operations while avoiding being locked into expensive, proprietary technologies that limit your ability to innovate and create. For more information, visit our Edge Ecosystem.
Watch the following video: Power management company optimizes edge investments for success
Make the most of edge investments by using an open design that works with software applications, IoT frameworks, multi-vendor operations technology solutions, and multicloud environments. This enables you to deploy applications across new or existing environments. NativeEdge will support each edge use case with an open design that works with your choice of software applications, IoT frameworks, OT vendor solutions, and multicloud environments.
Dell Technologies is going to enable its existing strong edge ecosystem of partners to leverage the open, vendor-agnostic design, allowing customers to optimize their edge investment. This way, we can put the customer in the driver’s seat to control their edge.
To learn more about how to simplify edge operations at scale, click here to see an interactive flip-book.
To learn more about NativeEdge Application Orchestration, click on the following links:
This blog is a part of a self-learning series. For more information on NativeEdge, go to:
Related Blog Posts
Self-Learning Series Part 3: Using Automation to Scale and Streamline Operations
Sun, 05 Nov 2023 12:54:00 -0000|
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Edge devices offer businesses across industries the opportunity to elevate their operations in an unprecedented way. Each edge device that is added to operations comes with multiple management challenges.
The two main challenges businesses constantly need to address are:
- The resources needed to deploy edge devices are not always readily available
- The time needed to manage edge devices is not always feasible
If the purpose of these edge devices is to deliver data and improve efficiency, the platform that manages them should match these goals.
Additionally, the struggle to keep IT and OT functioning seamlessly is compounded by the need for edge devices to be deployed, monitored, and updated without creating bottlenecks or unnecessary repetitive tasks.
Managing these distributed systems, especially in locations that don’t have technical personnel, must be simple, scalable, and easily repeatable. Systems must be fundamentally zero-touch once plugged in and powered on.
Therefore, eliminating operational complexity at scale via a centralized management platform would require zero-touch deployment and onboarding, and automated operations of infrastructure and applications from edge to multicloud are essential.
Dell NativeEdge is the edge operations software platform that will help enterprises simplify their edge environments by automating edge operations and enforcing zero trust security.
This blog explores how automation with NativeEdge helps simplify the operational processes, allowing for OT and IT to streamline tasks and increase edge device efficiency.
Imagine these possibilities with automation:
- What if you could consolidate all siloed solutions and make it easier to manage and scale them using consistent, repeatable processes?
- What if you could set up security controls across the edge one time, then enforce them automatically without IT intervention whenever you deploy more applications and devices?
- What if you could orchestrate all your applications, third-party or home-grown, from a single catalog, across any number of devices or locations, using blueprint templates?
- As your edge infrastructure expands, what if you could deploy and provision new devices automatically with all the required workloads?
- What if you could also push out patches and upgrades consistently and at scale?
Dell NativeEdge makes all these possible.
Through the automation of routine and repetitive tasks like onboarding devices, orchestrating application workloads, and managing them at scale, recent analysis suggests the NativeEdge platform can speed up application lifecycle management at the edge 22 times faster than current processes.1 This means a large-scale edge implementation that may take 100 or more hours to deploy could be completed in under five hours with Dell NativeEdge.
Automation’s Impact on the Whole Lifecycle Management
Reduce Human Intervention
NativeEdge dramatically simplifies operations through deeply integrated automation processes to streamline edge deployment and operations at scale without relying on IT expertise in the field. NativeEdge does so with centralized management, zero-touch deployment and onboarding, and automated operations.
Automating the provisioning and deployment processes enables developers to request and access the necessary resources and environments without relying on manual intervention from IT operations. This self-service approach accelerates development cycles and reduces the time required to set up and configure new environments.
Achieve Faster and More Reliable Software Delivery
Creating tools and workflows that automate tasks like deployment, testing, and monitoring helps reduce human intervention and ensures consistent and error-free processes. This aligns closely with the principles of DevOps implementation, where development and operations teams collaborate closely to achieve faster and more reliable software or hardware delivery.
Through the Dell NativeEdge platform, automation simplifies edge operations by providing centralized control and management of distributed edge devices and infrastructure. This simplification leads to increased operational efficiency, reduced manual intervention, improved reliability, and better utilization of edge resources. These advantages are particularly crucial in edge computing scenarios, where resources are distributed across various remote locations and need to function reliably and with minimal human intervention.
Leveraging Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Imagine you have edge devices on a fleet of boats. Without automation, if you wanted to update the application version, you would have to send a DevOps specialist to each boat, which would take ages and raise costs astronomically. Taking a step back, if you want to find out what is wrong with the edge device, how long will it take to figure it out and how long would it take to repair it so the device is up and running properly?
NativeEdge leverages IaC to automate application provisioning, deployment, and lifecycle management on NativeEdge-enabled Devices as well as on other infrastructure with virtualized or containerized environments.
To understand how we can leverage IaC, let’s make sure we understand some basic terminology:
- Infrastructure as code (IaC): The managing and provisioning of infrastructure through code instead of through a manual process. Using IaC, configuration files that contain your infrastructure specifications are created, which makes it easier to edit and distribute configurations.
- Blueprint: a set of documented best practices, guidelines, and processes for implementing DevOps principles within an organization. A blueprint, in the context of automation, can be a valuable tool to facilitate the design, implementation, and management of automated processes.
Using blueprints is a powerful way to streamline infrastructure and application deployment, ensure consistency, and reduce the risk of errors in your software development and deployment process.
A common tool for creating and managing blueprints is IaC. An example on this could be using frameworks in Ansible for infrastructure provisioning, and configuration management tools like Puppet or Chef for application configuration.
Following our example above of updating an application on devices installed on a fleet of boats. You can leverage automation with Dell NativeEdge, and blueprints can facilitate the process. There are two routes to create blueprints:
- Internally write code or configuration files that define your blueprint. This code should specify how to set up and configure infrastructure components (servers, databases, load balancers) and application components (web servers, microservices, databases), and then upload it to NativeEdge.
- Alternatively, you can use the NativeEdge catalog which includes ready-to-use blueprints provided by Dell or written by independent software vendors (ISV).
Note: Components of a blueprint can often be reused in various contexts. For example, you can use the same blueprint to deploy similar microservices in different parts of your application.
Once you choose the blueprint you would like to use, it provides an option to deploy the updated application using the blueprint on all the devices running the old version across the entire fleet of boats with just a few clicks in NativeEdge. You don’t need to know how to create the VM receipt, or how to run a playbook, or how to install it. All you need to know is how to click install, and the rest is automated.
All these features in NativeEdge allow for a simplified operational process to update the edge device’s application on the fleet of boats in less time and with less technical expertise on hand. Similarly, we can apply these benefits to retail stores, manufacturing factories, or smart cities.
NativeEdge can manage your entire application lifecycle through automation tools. It helps deploy apps on any infrastructure, including public and private clouds. It is a reliable DevOps tool to speed up the building, deployment, and management of software, apps, and microservices without sacrificing operational efficiency or security.
1Estimated: Based on 2023 study of edge operations by GLG Research on behalf of Dell Technologies and estimates from test deployment of NativeEdge (Avg. of 100 responses from IT practitioners).
To learn more about NativeEdge Application Orchestration, click on the following link:
This blog is a part of a self-learning series. For more information on NativeEdge, go to:
Self-Learning Series Part 2: Delivering Zero-Trust Security with NativeEdge
Tue, 17 Oct 2023 13:43:00 -0000|
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At the edge, there are security risks where devices are typically deployed in remote and less secure locations, making them vulnerable to physical tampering. Furthermore, when these devices are shipped throughout the supply chain, the device could be exposed to multiple different parties where there could be a malicious actor somewhere throughout the supply chain.
The distributed nature of the edge and lack of technical staff make security and compliance the most business-critical pieces, determining the viability of any edge plan.
Maintaining hardware and software complexity for various form factors, network connections, levels of ruggedization, and configurations is a significant challenge that must be addressed for large-scale edge deployments.
This highlights the importance of ensuring that edge devices are secure, user-friendly, and straightforward to deploy.
The NativeEdge platform is built from the ground up with zero-trust security principles. We alleviate the security fears by delivering a platform that ensures the integrity of edge hardware from design to deployment, and along the supply chain to protect applications and data through hardened blueprints and digitally signed package validation.
Ensuring a Zero-Trust Chain of Custody
Our top priority is ensuring security from design to deployment and all along the supply chain to protect applications, data, and infrastructure across the edge estate using zero-trust security principles.
To address this need, Dell introduces NativeEdge secure device onboard (SDO), a solution that simplifies the deployment of NativeEdge-enabled Devices while ensuring robust security with zero-trust and zero-touch capabilities. Using NativeEdge, anyone can set up a NativeEdge-enabled Device by plugging in a network cable, powering on the device, and stepping away. Devices automatically onboard into the NativeEdge Orchestrator for zero-touch deployment across sites.
After SDO, the NativeEdge Orchestrator securely provisions the NativeEdge Operating Environment onto the NativeEdge-enabled Device. At this point, the device can accept deployment of applications from the NativeEdge Orchestrator.
Every shipment of NativeEdge-enabled Device from the Dell manufacturing plant is secure and locked down. This is accomplished by the following:
- Secure boot is enabled in BIOS, meaning that only Dell NativeEdge images such as Factory OS, NativeEdge Operating Environment, factory reset image, and so on can successfully boot.
- The BIOS password is protected and locked out.
- Boot order is locked down.
- Secure component validation further protects PowerEdge R660 and R760 NativeEdge.
- iDRAC (for PowerEdge models) is disabled during onboarding.
- A single network port is available for onboarding while all other ports are disabled.
Impact Management from Deployment to Onboarding
Secure operations, including the ability to deploy and secure workloads anywhere, and centrally monitor and report on technical and business-level changes, is another critical concern at the edge. Application orchestration solutions designed for edge deployments must be able to deploy these operations workloads to the cloud of their choice.
An important feature of NativeEgde security is the secured component verification (SCV). It ensures that the devices are delivered and ready for deployment exactly as they were built by Dell manufacturing, providing an extension to the Dell Secure Supply Chain assurance process. We leverage a trusted platform module (TPM) chip to secure the hardware with integrated cryptographic keys. TPM stores some security certificates and secrets to encrypt all the management communication. It ensures that, as an edge device is onboarded to NativeEdge, the connection is highly secure, and that edge device cannot be removed from the location and managed through any other means. It can only be managed through NativeEdge.
Additionally, securing with zero trust reinforces the security of applications, data, and infrastructure at every layer:
- By protecting hardware integrity with FDO-enabled devices
- Fortifying data and application, from edge to cloud
- Focusing on authenticating, authorizing, and protecting these individual users, applications, and devices irrespective of their physical or network location
- Allowing administrators to create users and assign role-based access control
Finally, as part of zero trust, we need that tamper-proof edge hardware and software integrity. We need to make sure that something hasn't happened to that device, because at the edge, you may not have the same level of security controls that you have inside your core data center, or even inside a regional data center. These sites typically have fewer access controls than some of the other edge sites we just mentioned. By giving you consistent management and control and the ability to keep your edge infrastructure up to date, you can be assured that your edge state is not increasing the attack surface for your IT infrastructure and operations.
Security Standards that Protect Your Data
Zero-trust security principles are at the core of NativeEdge, ensuring the integrity of edge hardware, applications, and data through hardened blueprints and digitally signed package validation. While onboarding new devices or applications, the platform extends continuous security across all connected resources, providing you with peace of mind.
NativeEdge empowers you to leverage the enormous benefits of edge computing, while ensuring the integrity and safety of your systems and data.
Dell NativeEdge helps businesses secure the data pipeline from data sources to the edge applications running locally, in data centers, or on the cloud. It combines advanced security measures such as encryption, user access control, private app catalog, network segmentation, and security orchestration. The edge platform also uses telemetry and analytics to proactively assess the security posture of the edge estate without relying on experts with audit capabilities to visit every site.
Dell NativeEdge protects your edge estate with zero-trust security principles. The edge operations software platform enables secure zero-touch onboarding coupled with a hardened and secure edge operating system, which is fundamental to the fidelity of your edge estate. With Dell NativeEdge, you can rest assured that the devices, users, network, applications, and data are continually attested and validated across your expanding edge estate.
To learn more about edge security essentials, click on the following links:
This blog is a part of a self-learning series. For more information on NativeEdge, go to: