Network-connected device types are multiplying at pace. This new ecosystem of wired and wireless technologies, products, and services is creating new demands on the suppliers of connectivity, the providers of related devices and services, and the ability of industries to use these innovations to accelerate time to market and gain competitive advantage.
In order for enterprises to make effective, real-time operational decisions, they must have a secure, cost-efficient way to derive value from this data – and the only way to gain this insight quickly is by analyzing and processing it at the edge.
Edge computing is one of the most important trends in IT. IDC predicted that more than half of new enterprise IT infrastructure will be at the edge by this year. And in just two years, by 2025, Gartner predicts 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside a traditional data center or cloud.
To extend their cloud experience to the edge, enterprises need to have a way to centrally manage and orchestrate their edge infrastructure and applications. This is not easy, given that the edge has very specific requirements and challenges, such as scale, security and hardware diversity.
This is where ZEDEDA comes in.
“We believe that the cloud computing paradigm model is the winning model. Any app that can run in the cloud will run in the cloud. It’s easier and cheaper. Furthermore, we believe that anything that can be connected will be connected, from consumer devices to enterprise systems, to industrial sensors and wearables. ZEDEDA was founded on these beliefs,” says company CEO and founder, Said Ouissal.
Ouissal explains that while cloud and connectivity are the future of computing, the sheer quantity of data being generated and the speed of the network required to process that data are significant inhibitors.
“With more devices comes more data. It’s surpassing data that is being created in the cloud and in the data center today. Today’s networks are simply not built for uploading that volume of data. Right now it's like we’re trying to suck data into the cloud with a very small straw. And it’s not working very well.
So we decided to tackle that problem on the premise that if we can’t get data to the cloud -- the dominant model for running applications these days -- then let’s extend the cloud to the edge of the network.”
ZEDEDA focuses on enabling the distributed edge, defined as the first place data hits the network and generally locations that are remote and without traditional security perimeters or onsite IT staff. It makes edge computing effortless, open, and intrinsically secure - by extending the cloud experience and agility to the edge, all while reducing the cost of managing and orchestrating edge hardware and applications for enterprise customers.
The solution, which combines operating and orchestration systems is built around three key advantages: zero limits, zero-touch and zero trust
ZEDEDA’s SaaS solution is completely portable and can run on any type of hardware and anywhere on the network. To underscore its commitment to building a universally appealing solution, ZEDEDA open-sourced its operating system, EVE-OS, to the Linux Foundation LF Edge organization and invites customers and partners such as Intel, GE and Emerson to contribute code to the project in the spirit of creating a standardized approach for managing edge workloads. ZEDEDA’s commercial solution, its SaaS-based orchestration system sits on top of that open-source foundation.
Enterprises deploying ZEDEDA can dropship and instantly provision hardware remotely at scale, with all OS and system software automatically downloaded from the cloud. This zero-touch approach spares scarce IT resources. “You don’t have to log in. You don’t have to configure anything. You just install the OS, it boots up, connects to the orchestration system and starts pushing apps. It just works,” says Said. “We have also proven to our customers we have built an architecture that can scale. We have automotive customers who are looking to install our system into every vehicle they build and they build millions of vehicles every year. If you need to orchestrate a million+ cars on the roads, deploy applications to them and monitor those applications, we can do that.”
ZEDEDA’s security model addresses the unique, perimeter-less security challenges of edge infrastructure deployed outside of traditional data centers. By eliminating hardware spoofing, enterprise IT organizations can quickly detect anomalies in their software stack, and ensure device integrity with hardware root of trust while governing data flow across apps and nodes with distributed firewall capabilities.
While ZEDEDA’s path to market started with infrastructure, the company is now moving toward a marketplace model. The company has built integrations with edge software vendors so they can effortlessly instantiate software as a service at the edge. This shift also moves the company away from traditional IT and toward the developer community that is building apps for the edge.
“Just as the cloud providers did for platform services, we are working to make life easier for the edge developer with tools and libraries at their fingertips,” says Said.
5G is an essential enabler
5G serves enterprise demand for more and lower cost bandwidth to enable edge computing and connectivity. It’s an essential component of ZEDEDA’s business strategy.
“We have been partnering with service providers and organizations that promote 5G and edge computing to make sure that as we build our 5G and edge computing offering integrations and roadmaps are very aligned. For instance, how to do network slicing, how to prioritize traffic, and how new devices are onboarded to a wireless network without a SIM or private mobile networks. Because our system can be taught to support these tasks.”
AI amplifies demand
The artificial intelligence explosion of late will only serve to further increase demand for ZEDEDA’s system, as customers begin running AI workloads and turn to ZEDEDA to manage resources for AI such as GPUs.
“Bandwidth and latency have always been a constraint for enterprises, but now, because of the dramatic rate of generative AI adoption, we have a new constraint, and that’s compute,” explains Said. “ChatGPT consumes more power than bitcoin mining. So, we are going to start seeing distributed data centers and edge data centers that are purpose-built to run these kinds of workloads in geographies where power is cheap.”
He points to an MRI scanner company that ZEDEDA is working with. The company is now adding an AI overlay to the scanned images.
“How is a healthcare system going to enable that kind of data management,” he muses. “No hospital I know has an AI data center in the back.”
5G OIL opens doors to service providers and to operational opportunities for edge computing
The relationship with 5G Open Innovation Lab OIL has opened doors for ZEDEDA into the private mobile networking world and through those projects to use cases in remote environments such as oil and gas exploration. The 5G OIL relationship has also led to working relationships with service providers who are realizing they can create 5G edge platforms and edge offerings that go well beyond network connectivity and serve the operational side of the business.
ZEDEDA is well-capitalized with $65M of investment, and company revenues have tripled since the first products came to market in 2020. Customers are now entering the large-scale deployment phase and are signing multi-year contracts. Some have even invested in the business.
“It’s all about growth now,” says Said. “More verticals, more customers, more platform services. We have some announcements coming later next year that the market is going to be very excited about.”
Posted August 16, 2023