Besides the turbulent history managed service providers have had with cloud computing over the years, there may be even more of a reason for MSPs to bet less heavily on cloud computing as the future of managed services. The edge.
No, this is no reference to U2’s mononymous guitarist. There are some in our industry who believe that edge computing is where all the activity will be, and not in the cloud. Let’s take a closer look.
According to Gartner, 40% of enterprises will have an edge computing strategy in place by 2021, an increase from around 1% in 2017. Hewlett Packard Enterprise says it will invest $4 billion during the next four years to accelerate innovation in what they call “the intelligent edge.”
These two perspectives on edge computing should tell anyone paying attention that connected devices (whether you call it Internet of Things or something else) are going to be an increasingly important “object” to manage in the future.
IoT has been receiving a lot of attention in the last few years, including from MSPAlliance. While I would say IoT is not yet a trend amongst the business community (most IoT discussion seems to be centered around residential usage), devices connected to the Internet are increasing and at some point it is logical to assume that MSPs will be called upon to manage them.
What about the cloud?
This doesn’t mean that cloud computing is going away, nor does it mean that MSPs should no longer pay attention to the cloud. Cloud computing environments are here to stay and serve a purpose, just like the mainframes used to decades ago. Because most MSPs do NOT own or control a large cloud computing environment, it does beg the question about what role MSPs will be play in the cloud world. Edge computing seems like a pretty good place to start.
Let’s take performance as a starting point. Beside the obvious remote locations of the world where infrastructure still has a long way to go before cloud computing can become a viable solution, there are many industries in existence today who demand high performance from their computing investments.
Medical, legal, banking, financial investment services, and many other professions need to rely on edge computing architecture in order to see reliable and high performance results. The presence of edge computing networks taking up such a large portion of enterprise planning should signal to the mid-market and SMB communities that something big is going to happen in the next 5 years.
Once the enterprise figures out edge computing you can bet that the smaller markets will be the recipients of this hard work, just like it always has been for decades. Enterprise perfects the technology and it trickles down to the smallest of companies.
This is exactly what is happening with security right now and it will likely happen with edge computing.