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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

A need for speed: Why data at the edge is the ultimate modernizer

Volumes of data, speed of access to information and global enterprise IT describe today’s  environment that’s constantly evolving, from the foundational infrastructure to the end-user experience. Millions of transactions per second unfold between the two, but is that fast enough?

The answer is no, and machine-speed processing is a challenge compounded by the magnitudes of data growing every day. While there’s no shortage of technologies promising to accelerate government agencies’ ability to ingest and analyze mass quantities of data, the reality is there are limits -- even to the advanced solutions already working to improve government services.

What if there were a way to breathe new life into government’s legacy, ineffective architectures and siloed IT operations? What if solutions could streamline functionality and meet today’s data-driven demands emerging needs for data at the edge?

Regardless of physical location, the edge is where milliseconds matter. Speed and the accompanying protection of data and services are no longer just “nice to have” for agencies. As expectations grow for public-sector experiences that are accessible, data-driven and mirror those in the commercial world, agencies must provide smart, secure, reliable citizen services wherever and whenever needed.

As the network edge becomes more substantial, speed and flexibility are differentiators for data delivery. These two factors enable lightweight, small-footprint solutions deployable to Department of Agriculture soil sensors or Federal Highway Administration inspection vehicles, U.S. Postal Service mail trucks or ad hoc tactical operations centers; they’re what support continuity amid the noise and bottlenecks of field communications, and they’re key to scalable, low-latency processing of petabytes of data in microseconds.

The mission-critical, latency-intolerant applications that operate at the edge ultimately hinge on three capabilities. The ability to ingest and compute data anywhere, the mobility of that data to the centralized core and the integration of legacy data stores are all fundamental to delivering decision-speed functionality. This is the new frontier for the public sector: real-time data at the edge and in the cloud are the ingredients that matter.

Real time reimagined

As government leaders continue to grapple with COVID-19’s impact on everything from the workforce to investments -- including in IT -- the realities of today’s limits and the growing demand to deliver at the edge are becoming clearer.

Data at the edge is quickly becoming a benchmark for future-focused modernization goals. But with an edge that’s constantly evolving and a seemingly endless array of solutions claiming to deliver to it, how do agencies and program managers determine what’s right for their specific mission?

A real-time data platform that securely links across the enterprise -- and delivers resulting performance and reliability -- is almost universally useful. At a passport agency or social services office, it could enable on-the-spot fraud detection. For the military and national security teams, it may provide razor-sharp decision-making that’s informed by the most up-to-date intelligence. For search-and-rescue and disaster response teams, it can deliver situational awareness and visibility where every second counts.

These are constituent-facing edges, but the edge can also support telematics, or computer-to-computer, transactions. And that’s accelerating what’s possible at the edge: By using automation and augmentation for front-end workloads, edge computing brings fresh utility to legacy systems while integrating new capabilities. The edge is aspirational, but it’s also a strategic way to inject agility into systems written off as obsolete.

Central to making edge computing a reality, though, is the right partnership with the right solutions. With a highly secure, real-time, edge-to-core data platform, agencies can meet their modernization and performance goals while simultaneously building for the future. By tackling what’s needed today and anticipating what’s expected for tomorrow, agencies can future-proof their data operations and scale, modernize and integrate according to emerging demands.

About the Author

John Dillon is the CEO of Aerospike, Inc.

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