Business increasingly needs to process data closer to where it is generated and captured, to improve the speed, capacity and security of data-intensive, critical operations.
To do so, many are turning to edge computing, which allows for data to be processed on-site and avoids having to send it across long routes to data centres or clouds.
Putting the compute technology on-site also protects against internet outages or throughput issues, provides absolute minimum system response times and delivers absolute control over performance.
In Australia, businesses in many different sectors are realising the benefits of edge computing, in partnership with an industry leader in the space, Schneider Electric.
Among them is Christie Spaces, Australia’s largest family-owned workspace provider, which partnered with Schneider in November to launch a state-of-the-art conference space designed to meet the needs of the data-intensive businesses it hosts.
“We now provide datacentres on-site, allowing clients to discontinue telco contracts and experience uncontended bandwidth,” Christie Spaces Brand and Digital Marketing Manager Edgard Diaz, said.
“We have attracted many new markets with more sophisticated data needs, such as app developers, video production, animation, design, data analytics and beyond.”
Schneider Electric installed their Edge infrastructure including APC racks and power distribution units as well as APC uninterruptible power supply and cooling solutions at the $4.5 million, 1850sqm space in Brisbane.
Christie Spaces is the first shared workspace provider in Australia to leverage the IT infrastructure on demand. This has attracted new customers such as Brisbane-based innovations and software company, Data Revolution Technologies (DRT).
“Working in research and innovation, the sheer size and speed of data collected in our business process can strain even the most secure network infrastructure. Working with Christie Spaces to use its new edge computing capabilities has given us faster, more reliable internet, with no competition for bandwidth,” DRT director, Benjamin Banks, said.
A similar solution has been rolled out at Murdoch University’s Discipline of Information Technology, Mathematics & Statistics, which is taking advantage of some of the other benefits of the approach.
The university last year launched its IT Innovation Hub, a 24-hour facility with an emphasis on learning, but in a way that promotes social interaction and immersive technology.
Schneider was responsible for the installation of all the facility’s datacentre and IT infrastructure, which included power, cooling, racks and cabling in the modern self-contained unit design.
The datacentre has a dual purpose. The top half of the rack is used for teaching and hosts networking equipment used for datacomms units. It also has the capacity to host compute for small projects and give students hands on compute gear.
“We give our students access to systems and dashboards such as Data Centre expert, IPAM, SAN, Asset Management and virtualization platform (vCenter). Everything is fully transparent; we really want to give them the opportunity to go in and explore,” Murdoch University IT officer, Louis Grynfeltt, said, while attending Schneider’s recent Innovation Day event in Sydney.
“We’re trying to demystify IT and make it interesting.”
The bottom half of the rack is dedicated for staff and researchers. It is locked and isolated from the top pod, with a dedicated network and UPS providing a safe and secure environment for research to be conducted.
Across the top of the hardware sits Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT solution architecture, a piece of software provides a graphical interface for all the integrated systems, allowing users to see at a glance what is running, and at what capacity.
The software – which also integrates with Schneider’s Building Management System (BMS) installed at the site – allows for 24/7 remote monitoring, and alerts that can be sent to mobile phones via an app. This means the IT officer for the school can ensure the systems are always up and running, no matter where they are. The data can also be stored and analysed later, so future efficiencies can be made based on real information.
Students studying IT degrees get access to the solution to get a better understanding of how the machines work, and how to use them in a real-life setting, with tangible hands-on experience.
“Today, Murdoch University is the only institute in Western Australia with such infrastructure. Our students will come out of our university ready for work and the jobs of tomorrow,” Grynfeltt said.