Classification of ‘Factory to Remote’ Enterprise Edge Gateway Topography and Business Type

Overcoming the challenge of processing, managing, and securing data traffic close to the source has become a top priority for many organizations as the enterprise edge extends to everything from plant facilities to oil rigs to solar arrays and retail outlets.

Consider the use of an edge gateway. Edge gateways process data from sensors, monitors, industrial controllers, and other edge devices to transmit only actionable information over the WAN to cloud and enterprise data centers and filter out bandwidth-consuming noise (e.g. pressure sensors on oil rigs).

Currently, the edge gateway market has not yet reached a mature stage and is fragmented. In the past few years, leading incumbents in the infrastructure sector, data center equipment providers and startups have launched new edge gateway products, proposing different approaches to controlling the edge.

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The size of the edge gateway market is still uncertain, but businesses are forced to move at least some of their processing and storage functions from the data center to the edge. Encryption, device security and management, connectivity to devices in constrained environments and OT networks, WAN connectivity, and high durability are common features of edge gateways. However, features such as zero trust and pre-integration with analytics platforms vary from vendor to vendor.

Data center conglomerates expanding to the edge

The good news for companies that stay away from the new is that many of these devices are coming from established vendors with systems in place. Edge gateways from vendors such as Cisco and HPE are often associated with SD-WAN, IT management, data analytics and cloud infrastructure products, and are full-featured edge servers with rich processing power and onboard storage.

A powerful edge device is at the level that brings the data center to the edge. Although there are many computationally intensive, high-bandwidth use cases, such as video monitoring, the device is overkill for relatively simple tasks such as sensor monitoring.

Vendors that provide high-performance edge gateways include:

Cisco has designed a family of IoT gateways that provide connectivity at scale. IoT devices can connect to Cisco IoT gateways via Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G, private LTE, FirstNet and Wi-SUN. There are also high-durability models for harsh environments.

It integrates extensively with other Cisco products and services. Cisco’s cloud-based IoT operations dashboard is packaged for visibility and management, as well as secure remote access for operations and equipment monitoring/maintenance. Cisco Gateway also integrates with Cisco’s cybersecurity portfolio to provide managed security across edge and silo IT/OT environments. SIM provisioning on edge devices is automated through Cisco Control Center integration.

Dell offers edge gateways that are widely applicable in a variety of scenarios, from retail kiosks to remote industrial environments. Dell Edge Gateways are located close to edge devices and sensors, aggregate and analyze data, and then transmit meaningful information to the cloud or enterprise systems. Edge gateways include a variety of wired and wireless connections, including serial connections. The device’s I/O allows legacy industrial systems to connect to many network types, including mesh networks. Gateways connect and communicate using Wi-Fi, WWAN, and Ethernet.

Dell upgraded its entire edge portfolio, including the Dell EMC Edge Gateway, in October 2021. The Dell EMC Edge Gateway securely connects multiple edge devices across OT and IT environments. The gateway includes 5G connectivity and is powered by 9th Gen Intel Core processors. Designed to operate in industrial environments and withstand temperatures from -20 to 60 degrees Celsius, it has built-in storage and compute capabilities to run field data processing and analytics applications.

HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems add compute, storage, networking, security and systems management to the edge. Edgeline system provides data analysis function by processing data with Intel Xeon processor or GPU/FPGA accelerator.

It supports open standards-based OT data collection and control technologies and integrates these technologies directly into enterprise IT systems for analysis. Edgeline OT Link software simplifies data movement with pre-integrated industrial drivers, drag-and-drop workload flow designers, locally hosted containerized applications, and connectors to leading clouds and databases. . All activities are centrally managed and orchestrated using Edgeline Workload Orchestrator software.

The compact high-durability version is designed for harsh environments, space-constrained or dusty environments. Designed to withstand shock and vibration, industrial models operate at 0°C to 70°C.

A contender in the edge field

Incumbents are strong in emerging markets, but the door is still wide open. Although it is not a common name in corporate data centers in the United States, we introduce a contender who has a competitive infrastructure portfolio and offers an attractive alternative.

Lenovo ThinkEdge devices are compact, high-endurance embedded servers designed for edge workloads. Powered by an Intel processor (Core i5 or i7 vPro depending on model) designed for industrial computing, ThinkEdge devices collect IoT data and send it to the cloud over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G LTE or 5G wireless WAN.

Depending on the model, it is equipped with up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and a 1TB SSD. ThinkEdge devices also include Lenovo ThinkShield 360° security. A self-healing BIOS and self-encrypting drive protect your IoT data.

Hitachi Vantara
Hitachi Edge Gateway collects data from multiple sensors and provides processing, transcoding and compression functions. Hitachi Vantara’s gateway portfolio absorbs data through a variety of wired and wireless connectivity options, and is highly durable for automotive and vibration-heavy industrial environments.

The Hitachi Edge Gateway’s CPU/GPU options support high-intensity workloads including video analytics, machine vision or machine learning. Multiple PoE+ ports act as an integrated switch for LiDAR 3D laser scan and camera connection, while serial, DIO and CAN bus ports support OT integration. It supports both Wi-Fi and cellular, and storage options include mPCIe, M.2, SSD, and HDD drives for bulk data capture.
The portfolio includes two high-durability edge gateway models designed for harsh conditions and tested for rolling stock.

Intel-based edge equipment manufactured in-house
Although Intel processors are used in many of the edge gateways featured in this article, Intel also provides the ability to build their own edge gateways, namely white label Intel Edge Technology.

Built for heavy workloads and high-bandwidth applications, Intel 11th Gen Core vPro, Xeon W-11000E series and Celeron processors feature up to 8 CPU cores, high-performance integrated graphics/media and displays, integrated AI accelerators, and real-time computing capabilities.

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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