Strategic Storage Solutions began in 2002 with a vision of bringing “Enterprise Class” solutions to the SMB space. The challenge was that the Small to Medium Business was not really a defined market, but rather simply an exclusion of a large population of businesses that the enterprise vendors were not servicing – primarily due to the price points of the solutions. We all know how that evolved and how technology has commoditized most of the components that make up these solutions along with some amazing innovations from a software and virtualization perspective.

Strategic Storage Solutions continues to research emerging technologies that they determine are appropriate to incorporate into our very extensive ‘line card’ to leverage with our clients for an alternative solution to solve challenges they face on a regular basis. This approach allows us to be very open-minded and agnostic to the vendor and focused on the customer requirements.

So enough about that. Let’s get to the meat of this discussion – the fast paced EDGE Computing space and how the rapid ramp of HCI in the marketplace is now on a collision course. The velocity of adoption since 2007 for the HCI offerings has been very impressive and arguably will eventually displace the traditional server and storage deployments moving forward. The concept of EDGE Computing has also picked up some momentum with the explosion from machine generated data and the associated processing requirements of that data. The real push in the EDGE space is simply put – get the data closer to the processor.

One company that comes to mind is Scale Computing. They have an ever increasing footprint in the HCI on-premise marketplace since their entry in 2011 with the HC3 product. They are using the same proven stack from the original HC3 in their latest EDGE offering, the HE500. The announcement can be reviewed at Scale Computing HC3-Edge.

Another vendor that we have looked into as a viable HCI EDGE vendor is StorMagic. This company takes a software-defined approach to deliver the HCI EDGE solution, which enables them to deliver their solution in three different ways: an HCI appliance, build your own HCI and a storage-only solution.

StorMagic addresses all of the concerns small to medium businesses face when they go through the process of storage and server refreshes. StorMagic should be viewed as a viable alternative and more information can be reviewed at StorMagic SvSan Deployment. StorMagic has an encryption and encryption key management capability that addresses the security concerns by protecting against cyber threats that demand a ransom to release their data after a breach. The approach is unique in that the capability is enabled for an unlimited number of instances for one fixed price license.

The EDGE movement and associated alternative solutions can have a positive impact with smaller sites that have a relatively light workload and a small IT staff, and in many cases, just one person to support all of their IT workload. This type of deployment should be considered when folks are looking to refresh their current on-premise servers and storage. The EDGE approach can and should be compared when considering moving ‘everything to the cloud’. HCI EDGE can mitigate the network latency and the security concerns of cloud deployments. In many cases the HCI EDGE approach, in conjunction with the appropriate cloud light services, may be more attractive for functionality, ease of deployment and operations than say an all cloud play.

The retail space is seeing a significant adoption of the HCI EDGE approach. Retail stores have their own set of challenges. The workloads are typically ‘light’ but need to perform well and be highly available. This is an ideal use case for an HCI EDGE solution.

We suspect that there will be more EDGE alternatives arriving in the upcoming months. Strategic Storage Solutions will continue to review and write short high-level articles about these alternatives.