How Making Decisions at the Edge Can Help Handle Modern Digital Demands

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Companies undercut the potential of their move to the edge when reliance on communication between edge and central infrastructure introduces unnecessary latency. Rafael Umann, CEO of Azion Technologies, discusses how enabling decision-making directly on the edge offers unparalleled speed and efficiency without sacrificing reliability.

Over 2 billion people worldwide shopped online in 2021Opens a new window . When it comes to e-retail and other industries that rely on digital experiences, a fast and reliable experience is now table stakes. Yet these industries face enormous and growing volumes of compute that place tremendous strain on their infrastructure. 

In order to keep up with demand, many companies are now relying on edge computing and infrastructure to improve the customer experience, placing not only the content but also applications as close to users as possible. Unfortunately, the benefits of distributed infrastructure are often undermined by the need to communicate with central data centers for decision-making, introducing latency and jeopardizing customer satisfaction. 

An increasingly viable alternative to relying on central infrastructure is writing and administering rules and logic directly through edge computing and edge infrastructure in retail, tech, finance, and other industries. This strategy can provide users with highly responsive experiences and bolster security without taxing budgets and back-end infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few ways in which automating decision-making, reporting, and security through enterprise edge computing can make it possible to handle the rigors of the modern industry better.

Delivering Targeted Experiences from the Edge 

Part of what makes high traffic so challenging is that many companies must personalize experiences to each user. For example, a retail site that promotes “local deals” to everyone in a certain country will need to display distinct product collections for each region. When dynamic content needs to be obtained from central infrastructure in every instance, the result is sluggish queue systems and the need for elaborate back-end infrastructure. 

Leaders and innovators are now using the edge to execute business rules (code) at the edge and then automatically cache the appropriate content for each user demographic, detecting which demographic a given user falls into and then presenting the user with the appropriate content. This way, content is targeted for maximum engagement without demanding case-by-case communication back to the company’s central infrastructure. 

Even websites that don’t target different content to different users can rely on edge computing to bolster the customer experience. A/B testing, or showing different versions of a site to varying visitors in order to determine which is most compelling, is a common way of optimizing a given site. As traditionally administered with compute-intensive JavaScript, this can introduce a significant slowdown.

Instead, firms can assign cookies directly to users from the edge as they arrive on a site. From there, the firm can record users’ engagement and determine the best version to show subsequent users. In fact, the edge infrastructure can directly access edge databases to review the results of A/B testing and decide which content to display without needing to access centralized infrastructure at any time.

See More: How to Optimize Your IT Infrastructure to Meet Edge Computing Requirements

Determining Access Restrictions from the Edge

In some instances, users should be restricted from accessing content altogether, either to ensure privacy or to block out malicious actors. If you have a good understanding of what content needs to be protected and from whom, you can push this process to the edge to avoid taxing your central infrastructure. 

As an example, a news website may implement a paywall to ensure that only paying customers can access premium articles. Especially when customers are spending money for a high-quality experience, the site can’t afford to introduce latency when checking whether a page visitor qualifies to access paywalled content. Instead, the company can assign tokens on the edge that reflect membership status and check them on the edge to verify access as quickly as possible. 

If your firm is concerned about malicious actors from specific locations, ASNs, or IP addresses, you can automatically detect and block them on the edge. In this way, enterprise edge computing can provide protection at the network and routing level against potential attacks, as malicious requests can be filtered out before they reach your company’s infrastructure at all.

See More: The Future of Cloud: Edge Computing

Troubleshooting Automatically on the Edge

As websites and applications evolve, performance issues and logistical complications are inevitable. When it comes to troubleshooting and adapting to major changes, the last thing many firms can afford is a long period of poor performance. By automating some important processes on the edge, companies can rapidly troubleshoot or even avoid problems and keep users informed about progress toward resolution.

As a start, you can send data directly from the edge to a security information and event management (SIEM) service to collect and analyze data, providing insights at the fastest rate possible. If your website is not functioning properly, it’s important to keep users updated, so they understand that the issue is recognized and being resolved. Companies can set up error pages and rely on the edge to detect the current error status and update users in real-time.

Additionally, as website structures change, implementing URL redirects is a common chore that typically consumes resources and time. Leveraging the edge can instead enable redirects to be implemented in bulk while still being managed centrally. This makes it easier to adapt to a large website shift, such as migrating to a new e-commerce platform.

Replacing Cloud Infrastructure with Edge Compute 

While enterprise edge computing infrastructure can be tremendously useful, it still represents a finite amount of processing power and storage and is closer to some users than others. As a result, the edge is an ideal match for applications that need ultra-low latency and real-time processing close to users, but not every app fits this description. For use cases that require large amounts of data to be processed and stored, the cloud may be a better choice, especially if they don’t need to take place in real-time. As an example, retailers that aggregate user behavior via big data and analyze it to derive high-level insights will likely want to operate this process throughout the cloud. 

The Edge Is the Key to Scaling with Demand

It’s not enough for a company to be equipped to handle increased demand. It needs to handle that demand while improving performance wherever possible so that global audiences can consistently enjoy a reliable and responsive experience. Attempting to handle this with centralized infrastructure is quickly becoming impossible, given the cost and complexity tied to expanding on the back-end. Leaning into the edge facilitates building better apps more quickly, making decisions faster and closer to users, and leaving the company’s staff and central infrastructure equipped to tackle more important tasks. 

How are you tapping into the edge to enable better decisions and support digital demands? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window . We’d love to hear all about it!

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