What is Edge Orchestration?
Over the past few years, technology has transformed how businesses connect with customers. As a result, network infrastructure has also evolved, becoming an essential layer of connectivity and the foundation for delivering services and conducting business.
With users accessing services from multiple locations, organizations must strive to manage their networks more effectively and efficiently, increasing service offerings while reducing costs. This leads to the demand for cloud computing technologies and the adoption of edge solutions that optimize network resources and improve performance and reliability.
Edge orchestration is a term that describes the use of an “Edge Orchestrator” to manage, automate, and coordinate the flow of resources between multiple types of devices, infrastructure, and network domains at the edge of a network. Edge orchestration allows businesses and organizations to efficiently route data resources to avoid bottlenecks, reduce latency, and scale their network as needed.
How Does Edge Orchestration Work?
In edge orchestration, a resource management tool known as an edge orchestrator is placed at the edge of the network, close to end-user devices, to mediate user requests and network resources. The edge orchestrator agent controls network resources at the edge in real-time, orchestrating the provisioning of services and making intelligent decisions on behalf of user applications, streamlines application locations, and coordinates automated tasks to help achieve a seamless workload within the network.
In applications deployed on geographically distributed edge devices within a network, edge orchestration makes it possible to efficiently automate how network requests are handled. It does this by minimizing the need for human intervention to deliver network services, applications, or resources.
An edge-orchestrated network can be one of two types: centralized or distributed. Centralized edge orchestration is when all the orchestration functions are performed by a central entity — a central edge orchestrator. Distributed edge orchestration consists of multiple edge orchestrators at each local edge site in the network, coordinated by a central edge orchestrator. Each local edge orchestration is responsible for managing resources and networking within each edge site and handling requests from the central orchestrator. In contrast, central edge orchestration is responsible for monitoring, provisioning, updating, and managing the local edge orchestrators.
The goal of edge orchestration in a network is a more intelligent network in which real-time network events, traffic, or other dynamic requests can be handled automatically at the edge of the network. This facilitates the efficient deployment of resources and enables near-instantaneous provisioning of network services. It can also help reallocate network resources across multiple devices within the network.
Edge Orchestration Versus Cloud Orchestration
The term edge orchestration was coined to describe the automated management of resources and services outside data centers — at the edge of a network, close to users. On the other hand, cloud orchestration refers to the orchestration of resources and services in distributed and decentralized data centers (for example, private or public cloud data centers).
Edge orchestration is better suited to dealing with the increasing number of devices and sensors at the edge of a network and especially suitable for latency-sensitive workloads and applications in edge networks. Cloud orchestration is better suited to dealing with the increasing number of deployed applications, cloud services, and workloads on private and public cloud networks and data centers. However, as the number of devices and sensors at the network’s edge continues to grow, edge orchestration will become increasingly dominant.
What Are the Benefits of Edge Orchestration?
Edge orchestration brings several benefits to users and organizations. It transforms the way customers access network resources and edge services. It reduces resource overheads and increases network optimization by load balancing, giving users quick access to resources without the delays caused by network traffic congestion. This makes it suitable for latency-sensitive workloads and especially helpful for businesses and organizations that conduct resource-intensive operations at the edge of their networks.
With edge orchestration, network resources can be intelligently reallocated and dynamically scaled in an edge network, reducing resource starvation in applications that need fast response times. By doing so, edge orchestration helps companies and organizations in distributed edge environments develop and deploy solutions that may require dynamic resource scaling based on user and application demands. It ensures traffic is efficiently routed and that network resources are directed to the correct destination while also ensuring the network can handle any increase in traffic volume or resource demand.
Edge orchestration makes it easier for administrators in companies and organizations to control increasingly complex infrastructures at the edge of a network. It allows efficient coordination of network requests, tasks automation, and resource management across the network without human intervention. It also allows companies and organizations to operate more efficiently, allowing employees to focus on their core business responsibilities.
Finally, edge orchestration can help reduce the workload on the central data center by offloading specific tasks to the edge, where they can be orchestrated closer to the user. This can include caching and pre-fetching content and network resources for faster delivery. Edge orchestration enables businesses and organizations to streamline their resource management, reducing the cost of operations by efficiently managing their resources in distributed edge environments.
What Are the Challenges of Edge Orchestration?
Along with the benefits of edge orchestration, there are challenges to consider.
With traditional centralized computing, where all data processing and storage is in a single location, managing security is simple. With edge orchestration, as with edge computing, data and resources are moved to the network edge, closer to the devices that generate it. This exposes sensitive data to more public interfaces, creating a larger possible attack surface and new security concerns. Furthermore, the data resource is no longer managed centrally, making it harder to secure and more challenging to move across networks without risking exposure.
Edge orchestration is a complex process. It requires managing resources and services across many devices in edge networks that are often distributed and heterogeneous. As a result, edge orchestration demands more bandwidth across the network, which can be expensive.
Unlike static data centers, edge orchestration presents challenges related to the mobility of devices. Effective communication must be maintained between devices that may constantly be moving.
- Edge orchestration is the orchestration and efficient management of network resources across an edge network by controlling how network resources flow between devices and applications in an edge environment to produce a more responsive and smartly optimized network.
- Edge orchestration must ensure data is routed correctly and place resources in the optimal edge locations to ensure bottlenecks or interruptions don’t occur in the network. This is crucial in large enterprise networks or latency-sensitive edge environments where data must be near-instantaneously processed.