Blueprint for the Modern Edge IT Architecture
So, if yesterday’s legacy architectures fail to serve the enterprise edge, what can IT do? What are the design considerations IT needs to make in order to design and build a technology platform that will allow edge locations to achieve their goals for agility, velocity, security and performance?
Audit: The first step is to perform an audit of your edge locations. How many are there and where are they? What are their requirements in terms of performance, reliability, security, etc.?
Infrastructure: Next, take stock of the infrastructure currently required at each edge location. Make a note of the general type of IT footprint for each location, with considerations for today and future needs (Internet Only-Edge, Hybrid-Edge, Stateful-Edge).
Applications & Services: What applications and services do each location require? Which are simply productivity apps and which are truly mission-critical?
Risk: Ask basic questions to gauge the level of risk exposure at each edge location: How vulnerable is the data in each location to loss in the case of an outage or theft? What would result from data loss?
Agility & Velocity: Ask basic questions to gauge the level of agility and velocity required at each edge location: How quickly can you (as well as how fast you ideally need to) deploy an entirely new site? How fast can you/do you need to bring up a new application or service?
Visibility: What kind of visibility do you require for each site in terms of network performance, application performance and end-user experience. What visibility would be ideal?
Cost: Explore your current cost structures for each edge location: What CapEx is needed for all equipment now and in the future?
Data Center: Even if your focus is on edge locations, it is important to consider your data center technology platform as well. What does your infrastructure look like today? How will your on-premises data center evolve in the next 3-5 years?
Cloud: Where is your use of cloud today, and how will that evolve going forward? How are you using the cloud today? What clouds are you managing?
IoT: IoT devices are forecast to explode in number over the next few years. You need to take stock of your IoT plans to make sure you future-proof your edge technology plans. How will sensors and intelligent devices be used to measure and improve business processes and outcomes in the next 3-5 years?
High-Level Analysis: Finally, analyze how your current edge infrastructure affects core business initiatives.
Note that the questions you're answering in each of the preceding areas would be for today as well as in the reasonable future.