With more than 90 per cent of industrial companies wanting a simplified edge infrastructure that can be remotely managed, Stratus Technologies has unveiled its edge computing product strategy and direction at IOT Tech Expo. This strategy includes the latest version of the company's flagship product, ftServer, along with a preview of a converged operational technology (OT) edge system that offers enhanced remote management services in a rugged and easy-to-deploy form factor.
Well suited to users in industrial automation (IA) or in distributed enterprises deploying IIoT applications, these products ensure continuous availability and remote management of mission-critical edge applications, whether in the data centre, on the plant floor or at the network edge.
By delivering a series of high-availability edge compute products, Stratus addresses the growing need for more intelligent devices at the edge, as demonstrated by a new worldwide market report by ARC Advisory Group. In that study, 91 per cent of IA users surveyed stated having better systems and connectivity at the edge will enable improved real-time decision making. Yet, more than 90 per cent also indicated that, as edge computing grows, organisations will need a simplified edge infrastructure that can be remotely managed.
To address this, Stratus has released version nine of ftServer, its intelligent, self-monitoring and self-diagnosing edge server. In 2018 it will also introduce a new family of multi-function, converged OT edge systems. The combination of ftServer and the forthcoming OT systems provides a comprehensive selection of edge systems suitable for customers deploying IA, IIoT or IoT applications.
This set of edge products and Stratus' overall vision for edge computing align with the outcomes of the ARC study in which OT end users confirmed that their IIoT deployments will comprise a mix of edge and cloud-based technologies. In fact approximately 60 per cent of survey respondents said they plan to take a hybrid approach by balancing future investments in the edge with smaller investments in the cloud.
Dave Laurello, CEO at Stratus, says: "The more automated and connected applications become, the more critical it is for customers to have a highly reliable, continuously available and operationally simple edge infrastructure to drive true IIoT business value. Plant operators, in particular, do not want to adopt, implement and manage complicated edge technology that requires specific expertise or talent. The more self-managed the infrastructure, the more desirable it is, reducing the need for dedicated resources at each plant. We listened to the needs of our IA and IIoT customers and partners across both discrete as well as continuous process manufacturing, and that is exactly what we are delivering."
Craig Resnick, analyst and vice president at ARC Advisory Group, says: "Operational issues such as improving asset performance management to improve both production as well as reduce unplanned downtime will drive end users to deploy edge computing. And the companies who are quick to take advantage of self-managed, edge computing infrastructures will be better able to unlock the data that has long been stranded inside machines and processes. They will also be better able to quickly identify production inefficiencies, compare product quality against manufacturing conditions, and pinpoint potential safety, production or environmental issues. Remotely managing this edge infrastructure will immediately connect operators with off-site experts to more quickly resolve or, better yet, avoid downtime events. The benefit is freeing operations people and IT staff to perform their respective roles versus distracting them from their fields of expertise."
For more information about ftServer and Stratus go to www.stratus.com.