How to Build Modern Edge Infrastructures with Edge Gateways

Edge gateways provide the first phase to leverage the vast potential of a modern edge infrastructure.

I had an experience recently that highlighted how dependent we are on infrastructure that we rarely see or interact with on a daily basis. I recently renovated my bathroom, and it was fitted with a nice shower tap. Everything looked great and shiny until I turned on the tap to have a hot shower. Instead of getting comforting hot water, I got soaked with freezing icy water. It was a harsh but excellent reminder that building infrastructure properly is hard and even the smallest parts can create havoc when not carefully selected.

So, what does this have to do with edge computing and edge gateways?

Fueling your car at the gas station, turning up the heat in your house, waiting for a traffic light, self-check-out at your grocery are things we do every day, and we take these technologies and the underlying infrastructure for granted. Only when it fails do we realize how dependent we are on these seemingly mundane technologies and this out-of-sight infrastructure

While edge computing is gaining momentum and highlighting the importance of 5G, data management, AI, security and multi-cloud in our daily life, we see that carefully choosing the pieces that will comprise this infrastructure is becoming of significant importance. When building an edge, the old saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is true now more than ever.

Designing a resilient edge infrastructure is complex and made more so with recent supply chain challenges. All these critical bits need to come together as one:

    • Software
    • Compute
    • Storage
    • Networking
    • Interfaces and sensors

When building edge infrastructure, most of the pieces are hidden and, like building a house, the infrastructure needs a solid foundation. We define the edge as the place where data is acted upon to create immediate, essential value. The place where the data originates forms the very foundation of edge computing and the edge gateway is the first piece of that critical edge infrastructure. The edge gateway is the crucial link between the sensors and the fabrics that connect it to the data center or multi-cloud environment. Its sole purpose is to translate, normalize and extract the data for further processing that can provide real-time actionable insights. The gateway is the foundation for your success at the edge, ensuring that higher-level edge functions and use cases are backed by the best possible infrastructure for the job.

By listening carefully to our customers, we understand that they need their edge compute solutions to address the following requirements:

    • Uninterrupted, high throughput performance with secure seamless connectivity across the OT / IT environments and be compatible with a broad range of industrial I/O types, as well as wired and wireless edge infrastructure.
    • Provide the latest and greatest compute technology with enough maturity to be long-term, stable and future proof, while still maintaining the ability to utilize legacy and future interfaces, like serial, General Purpose IO or CAN interfaces to communicate with PLC’s, actuators and sensors, but also USB and PoE options to drive cameras.
    • Have extended-lifecycle components, which do not change over time. Frequent component updates can disrupt lifecycle management for customers that require longer-than-average infrastructure deployments.
    • Advanced capabilities like security with TPM2.0, virtualization with VT extensions, manageability with iAMT, AI inferencing through OpenVino, WIFI6E, Bluetooth 5.2, Cellular 4G or 5G and multi-cloud agnostic should be an essential part for a gateway.
    • Support for a broad range of deployment scenarios, such as: small or custom form factors, support for wide temperature ranges, fanless operation, tolerance for variable or irregular power, a watchdog timer and RAID capabilities.
    • Ruggedized hardware that can survive shock and vibration.

The new Dell EMC EGW5200, now available for customers, has been purpose-built to meet these demanding requirements at the edge to give customers a worry-free journey and assures readiness for the data era around the globe. The EGW5200 is purpose-built to be usable at a wide variety of edge locations and diverse verticals such as manufacturing, retail, digital cities, healthcare, energy utilities and transportation. Adding in Dell Technologies services, global reach of certification and trusted supply chain provides customers with a trusted building block on which to design their edge infrastructure.

No one should be surprised by a cold freezing shower when you are expecting a hot shower. No edge infrastructure should be burdened with an edge gateway that does not meet the key requirements at the edge.

Curious to know more about the new Dell EMC edge gateway capabilities? Please click here for a detailed whitepaper on the edge gateway or visit our edge page for further details.

The author

About the Author: Jeroen Mackenbach

Jeroen Mackenbach is Engineering Technologist for Edge in the Infrastructure Solutions Group. He is a trusted advisor for engineering, leadership and global customers bringing Edge solutions to market and complements sales teams with essential technical insights. Jeroen draws on more than 25 years’ expertise in embedded systems hardware and software, as well as the Linux ecosystem, helping customers address the challenges associated with edge and distributed environments. Jeroen joined Dell Technologies in 2018 and was invited to become a CTO ambassador. Jeroen is a regular speaker at Executive Briefings and industry events, including the Embedded Linux Conference in 2018 and 2019. Before joining Dell Technologies, Jeroen spent more than 20 years in Production Management and Technical Sales roles for design and manufacturing services. He speaks English and Dutch and holds technical qualifications in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the Hogeschool Rens en Rens in Hilversum, Netherlands.