Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

HPE converges edge applications to speed deployment

Steve Rogerson
December 6, 2018



Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced its Edgeline converged edge system to speed the deployment and simplify the management of edge applications, enabling users to act on the vast amounts of data generated by machines, assets and sensors from edge to cloud.
 
Based on an open platform, enterprises can seamlessly integrate a broad ecosystem of applications and operational technology (OT) devices for edge deployments, driving efficiency and innovation in industries such as manufacturing, energy and telecommunications.
 
The Edgeline offering includes:

  • OT link platform: An open platform that automates the interplay between diverse OT and standard-IT based applications at the edge to enable intelligent and autonomous decision making;
  • Systems management: Systems management products designed for the edge to ensure enterprise-grade reliability, connectivity and security;
  • EL300 converged edge: This features the OT link platform and systems management, providing resilience against harsh edge environments for a broad range of industrial deployments; and
  • Field application engineering services: These are available from HPE Pointnext to help users plan, build and customise IoT and cyber-physical systems based on the OT link platform.
According to Gartner, by 2022, as a result of digital business projects, three quarters of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised data centre or cloud, up from less than ten per cent in 2018.
 
To turn edge data into insight for real-time action, they must be processed close to their source to avoid the latency, bandwidth and cost issues of sending the data to a remote data centre. However, this opportunity comes with a set of challenges, including management of remote infrastructure and the necessity to connect sensors and industrial assets seamlessly with IT applications at the edge. Software, technology and services for Edgeline can simplify and accelerate that task.
 
“Deploying IoT, edge and cyber-physical systems is a challenge requiring a fresh look at uniting the physical and digital worlds,” said Tom Bradicich, vice president at HPE. “With these announcements, we enable our customers to accelerate the delivery of applications that capitalise on edge data, safeguarded by enterprise-class management. And we lay the groundwork for a new ecosystem of intelligent edge solutions to drive innovation and growth across industries.”
 
Setting up an IoT or cyber-physical system can be laborious. It requires custom coding to orchestrate OT networks, control systems and data flows with drivers, middleware and applications running on IT systems. The OT link platform is an open platform that simplifies this process, reducing cost and time to market.
 
Link platform software is an open workflow engine and application catalogue, letting users orchestrate components, data and applications via a graphical drag-and-drop user interface. The platform integrates an ecosystem of third-party applications running from edge to cloud – including AWS, Google, Microsoft, SAP, PTC and GE – to make insights from the edge available across the enterprise and supply chain.
 
HPE has developed adapters that connect to a broad range of OT systems, enabling bi-directional, time-sensitive and deterministic control and communications, including high-speed digital input and output, Can bus, Modbus or Profinet. APIs and SDKs for these adapters are available to industry to facilitate third-party designs of Edgeline OT link modules. This will also include FPGA modules to give flexibility to connect to any industrial input-output device.
 
“We’re excited about the potential of HPE Edgeline OT link platform to provide a powerful OT-ready physical platform for advanced OT applications such as Keysight’s PathWave analytics,” said Christopher Cain, vice president of Keysight Technologies. “Enabling secure IoT devices and effective wireless communications, validated to the latest standards by Keysight’s 5G and IoT test suites, is critical to ensuring the optimal performance for our customer’s IoT solutions. When integrated with HPE’s Edgeline systems, this delivers a potent combination for high-volume measurement processing and real-time local control, while maintaining the highest quality of service.”
 
The systems management products can simplify the provisioning and management of edge infrastructure and applications, providing enterprise-grade manageability and security for remote systems with limited connectivity and IT expertise. The Edgeline integrated system manager is embedded into converged edge systems and features one-click provisioning, on-going system health management, remote updates, and management even with intermittent wired and wireless connections.
 
It also supports security functions such as preventing system boot file changes and remote system disablement during a security event.
 
The infrastructure manager software can remotely manage thousands of converged edge systems. The workload orchestrator hosts a central repository for containerised analytics, AI, business and IoT applications that can be pushed to the converged edge systems at the edge
 
The EL300 converged edge system features the OT link platform and systems management. It provides flexibility to enable many use cases through multiple wired and wireless industrial connectivity options.
 
The EL300 is a fan-less, low-energy system equipped with Intel Core i5 processors, up to 32Gbyte of memory and 3Tbyte of storage. It will also support Intel Movidius Myriad X vision processing units to enable video analytics and AI inference at the edge. The EL300 provides resiliency against shock, vibration, humidity and dust, including IP50 and mil-spec certifications, and can operate from -30 to +70°C. These features make it suitable to be deployed as an embedded system, for example in production machines or in building infrastructure.
 
“Our smart power grid generates terabytes of data per hour at the edge and relies on intelligent edge technologies connected to central analytics and cloud platforms,” said Steve Pratt, chief technology officer at CenterPoint Energy. “CenterPoint Energy is enthused about continuing our partnership with HPE, as we explore applications for their Edgeline EL300 and OT link platform to help us accelerate the deployment and improve operational efficiency of our edge-to-cloud solutions, while attaining our goal of safer and more efficient energy delivery for our customers.” 
 
To support these new offerings, Pointnext, HPE’s services organisation, provides Edgeline field application engineering services, which help users plan, design, build and run IoT, edge and cyber-physical systems to accelerate deployment and ensure reliable and secure operation. These services include the evaluation of use cases, proof of value, deployment and management of ongoing operations, helping users get the most from OT-IT integrations.
 
Moreover, Pointnext can help users develop their own data acquisition, industrial network and control components for the OT link platform to create custom products. OT link platform based products can be delivered on-premises with a turnkey deployment service, operated by Pointnext.
 
Finally, EL300 converged edge system will be added to the company’s GreenLake Flex Capacity to deliver a consumption-based experience with usage-based payment, capacity metering and tailored support, for those who need a cloud-like experience for systems at the edge.
 
For the FIA ABB Formula E seasons five to seven, the Venturi Formula E team will benefit from Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s expertise, technologies, infrastructure and innovation, supporting critical team performance functions both on and off the track. Once implemented, the technology will further aid efficient team workflow and assist with flawless race execution.
 

 
HPE has a wealth of experience with the technical demands in motorsports including Formula One, Formula E, Indycar and Nascar, and success in implementing edge to cloud services.
 
Through the partnership, HPE is dedicating a number of technical specialists and developing a technological innovation strategy for the Monaco-based team, incorporating platforms and artificial intelligence to elevate both efficiency and performance.