Edge computing enables to rapidly process and analyze data at the edge in environments (and applications) where fast responses times are critical. Examples include Industry 4.0, healthcare, autonomous vehicles and retail/airport security.
Most current edge computing servers are rather large devices. Enter the BullSequana Edge server from France’s Atos. It isn’t just the highest-performance edge computing server on the market, it is also small and can be mounted in a 2U form factor rack.
The BullSequana Edge server, which has been designed to be used securely for IoT applications was presented during the fourth Atos Technology Days in Paris by CEO Thierry Breton. When unveiling the BullSequana Edge at the 2019 edition of the event, Breton explained that the machine is his company’s answer to respond to the growing need for ‘high computing power everywhere’.
BullSequana Edge: a complete package to support three main categories of use cases
BullSequana Edge comes with a full package to support three main use case categories with Atos software it can be acquired with in a bundle (not a must):
- In a big data context there is Atos Edge Data Analytics that hinges upon edge data lake capabilities to make data trustworthy and useable;
- In the scope of AI we note Atos Edge Computer Vision for advanced feature extraction (person, faces for facial recognition, emotion, behavior) or privacy by design;
- All-in-one container solution Atos Edge Data Container (EDC), a complete infrastructure, ready to run at the edge.
The device fits into a connected car, train, factory, store and wherever there is a need for local computer power and an ability to run IoT applications Thierry Breton stated. BullSequana Edge has a 16-core Intel Xeon CPU. It can be equipped with two powerful NIVIDIA GPUs, or optional FPGAs/ASIC accelerators to deliver high-performance machine learning inferences.
Breton cited analysts claiming that currently around 80% of customer data sits in centralized data centers or the cloud and 20% of enterprise data resides outside both, a ratio they expect to be the other way around in five years (IDC’s Datasphere).
End 2018 Gartner indeed predicted that by 2022, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside a classic centralized data center or cloud. Atos is one of several liking to speak about the post-cloud era although cloud computing and edge computing of course go hand in hand and will continue to do so for quite some time.
In 2018 Atos already released an edge computing box. However, it was more intended for cybersecurity purposes.
The BullSequana Edge server is more powerful, fits the company’s high-performance computing line and, since it’s an edge device, can manage data locally. The launch of the BullSequana Edge also clearly fit in a broader offensive of the French company on the edge front, which was the big topic at its Technology Days 2019, taking place as part of the Viva Technology fair.
Designed for IoT, BullSequana Edge empowers businesses to fully leverage ‘the data deluge’
Atos, positioning itself as a leader in digital transformation, employs 110,500 people across the globe and expects a turnover of 11.5 billion euros in 2019, clearly wants a big piece of the edge pie where companies such as Cisco, HPE, Dell, Huawei and many others already are very active.
The embedded BullSequana Edge server analyzes and runs AI applications in real-time, enabling organizations to overcome the challenges where edge fits such as limited bandwidth, intermittent network connectivity, securing data at the edge (data in motion and data at rest as well as the physical server are protected by an advanced chain of security measures Atos says) and network costs.
While the majority of edge devices typically is close to cell towers, the BullSequana Edge can communicate via radio, GSM or Wi-Fi, delivering upon that ‘high computing power everywhere’ message.
The BullSequana Edge server can be bought as a standalone infrastructure or together with a software platform from Atos, such as the mentioned Atos Edge Computer Vision, Atos Edge Data Analytics, or in a container system such as Atos Edge Data Container. The BullSequana Edge is also Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT.
“Edge computing will allow us to deal with the data tsunami being created by the Internet of Things revolution” Breton said.
Pierre Barnabé, Senior EVP, Head of Big Data & CyberSecurity Division at Atos puts it ths way: “The exponential growth of IoT devices and how to best manage the consequent explosion of data is a challenge faced by many businesses today. To manage and harness this mass of data to our advantage, in a post-cloud era, we need to embrace edge computing. Atos brings together its expertise and experience as a leader in cloud orchestration, high-performance computing, cybersecurity and AI, to develop a unique edge computing product – the BullSequana Edge – which empowers businesses to take full advantage of the data deluge”.
UPDATE: since the end of 2019, Thierry Breton is European Commissioner for Internal Market.