Before I discuss Scale Computing’s launch of new HE150 small Edge computing appliance, it is worth re-visiting how I ended my July 2019 blog post where I thought their strategy and product was ideal for the emerging IoT and 5G markets.
A blog post like this isn’t the place to go into detail about all the ways compute, storage and network nodes reconfigure automatically, or the ease with which disaster recovery systems can be created and activated. But what got me buzzing was my growing sense that these systems would be ideal in the emerging world of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5th Generation mobile networks (5G) and the Edge.
This new Edge computing environment will put pressure on IT costs, as organisations understand the need for additional compute and storage capacity near the customer and the plethora of IoT devices capturing and processing sensor data. IT architectures will become more complex. Performance and availability of these systems will become a critical business issue. Yet skilled IT resource will remain in critically short supply.
Whether you are a telco operator, faced with the need to install large numbers of new systems, potentially at the base of existing antennae to take advantage of 5G; a manufacturer moving from older Operational Technology (OT) to newer Industrial IoT; or a retailer needing more store based compute without the latency and cost of routing all transactions across the network, Edge computing will demand cost effective, small-footprint, agile, resilient systems that can be run in “dark” micro-datacentres. I think that describes Scale’s systems perfectly and I expect to see further developments in the coming year that place them very strongly in the forefront of the Edge computing market.”
Some five months on those developments have arrived with the HE150 announcement and have vindicated my view that Scale’s HC3 family of hyper-converged appliances will be important, not only in new IoT deployments, but also, more widely, in remote locations with little or no IT skills but where high availability is a critical requirement.
First and foremost it is the small size of these HE150 units that is most striking. Based on Intel NUC technology it is a small, all-flash, NVMe storage-based compute appliance that takes up only the space needed to stack three smartphones. It doesn’t require any server racking or dedicated server room space. It also includes disaster recovery, high availability clustering, rolling upgrades and integrated data protection.
The new appliance also introduces HC3 Edge Fabric, which eliminates the need for a backplane network switch requirement, lowering the TCO and delivering simpler connectivity for edge networks. Added to this, the ability to provide ready configured systems that can be plugged in and ready to go, the way in which nodes reconfigure automatically in the event of problems and a low cost of entry (at launch pricing begins at an MSRP as low as $5000 USD for a three-node cluster) make these a very attractive Edge deployment option.
Read my earlier blog on Scale Computing which will give you a little more context about the design vision and philosophy about the HC3 Edge series, and an insight into why I think these will be important for all organisations looking to capitalise on the potential of new Edge applications.