After a slew of partnerships in 2022, edge orchestration firm Avassa are keen to work on more comprehensive end-to-end and security solutions this year.
Founded in 2020, the Swedish company’s solution allows enterprises to manage their distributed applications across on-prem, co-located, and public cloud compute.
Edge Computing News sat down with Avassa CTO Carl Moberg to reflect on the company’s busy past 12 months and find out where Avassa, and the wider edge industry, are heading.
Edge Computing News: It’s a tumultuous time for the wider tech sector, how is the edge computing industry fairing in the current environment?
Carl Moberg: I would say that edge computing is truly at the heart of a lot of digitalisation strategies for certain verticals. Verticals that although they are in pretty massive industries are, in terms of business, actually quite disconnected from our buddies over at Silicon Valley.
Think about vertical industries like retail or industrial. As businesses, I don’t think they are very exposed to that kind of fluctuation. So while it impacts the technology providers like ourselves, I think the heart of the industries that we are serving are doing fine to transcend those financial turmoils. Then within that edge computing plays straight into the heart of these industries and their business development processes as they look to digitise their physical environments.
Edge computing is an emerging market so there may be vendors trying to serve this market that have been impacted, but the fundamental challenges that the industries we serve are facing remain uninterrupted. Which is of course a good thing.
Edge Computing News: What led you to founding Avassa in 2020?
Moberg: The big insight we had was that as a team we have a long history of building systems for automation and orchestration for underlying infrastructure. We would clearly see first-hand through meetings and conversations with large enterprises and service providers that their focus was slowly moving up the stack towards the application layer and away from the infrastructure.
Some of them felt that the automation of the infrastructure layer was pretty much done and dusted. I’m not sure that’s true but we could clearly see that they were more interested in managing and automating the lifecycle of their applications.
Edge Computing News: What are the key ingredients for a successful edge orchestration solution?
Moberg: I think the most essential ingredient is realising and respecting the fact that the people driving the requirements here are the application teams. Latching onto what I just said, the infrastructure teams are there to serve the application teams and that’s where the focus shift is going.
Building a solution that resonates with application teams in terms of the way they work, organise themselves, and have experience from centralised environments is absolutely at the heart of this challenge space.
You also need to respect that the edge is subtly but importantly different from the centralised clouds they are all very familiar with in terms of the way you scale, secure, and monitor processes.
Edge Computing News: What would be your main piece of advice for an enterprise operating on a public cloud that is considering the benefits of the edge?
Moberg: You need to look at the potential business and operational benefits of building on what you already have. If you look into what your teams have been doing for the past few years you will find that many of the technology choices and capabilities they have built are eminently reusable for the edge.
It’s important not to think of the edge as a disconnected thing that you swivel to or away from with your cloud solutions. Try to build on your investments in people, training, and tooling which you already have.
Also, take a look at the fact that many of the applications you are running in the cloud can, through modern technology stacks, be shifted to where they are the most valuable and robust. Try to think if there is a subset of that kind of application footprint that would actually run better at the edge. You will be amazed at how easy the transition can be if you respect the fact that these teams are really good at what they do.
Edge Computing News: You’ve had a busy 2022 collaborating with companies like Sunlight.io, Cysec, and Axiomatics on a range of solutions – what’s in store for Avassa in 2023?
Moberg: We’re building on the insight that many of our customers in these verticals want comprehensive end-to-end solutions. You can expect more comprehensive end-to-end partnerships that provide solutions from physical power-on of the infrastructure all the way to first-deployed application. We are doing this with a keen eye on serving the application teams and working with the vendors that already understand and serve that kind of audience.
Secondly, you can expect us to work on more comprehensive security solutions working with more forward-looking and interesting ways of tying well-understood, and maybe even hardware-based, security through the distributed domain.
Edge Computing News: Are there any emerging trends in edge automation and orchestration that you think are going to become increasingly important in the future?
Moberg: As the industry starts building literal and actual operational experience, we are and will continue to see a slew of what I like to call ‘day two concerns’ coming into play. Getting your infrastructure up and running is one thing. Making it efficient and operationally robust over time is a whole other ballpark. So we think as the market continues to emerge the conversation is going to start shifting to day two concerns as you operate an edge network.
Edge Computing News: Touching on what Avassa will be presenting on at Edge Computing Expo, what can platform teams do to make the edge as easy to deploy on and develop on as a central cloud network?
Moberg: They should go back and really think on what is the job that needs doing. Starting from that angle instead of from a pile of technology I think is key. I’ll be talking about what it looks like to start formulating the idea of what a solution should look like from a job to be done principle rather than from a scattered amount of open source and other solutions.
So I’ll be trying to shift the perspective a little bit to talk about building a system that people can love rather than a system that people can barely stand but uses well known technologies.
Moberg will be speaking on edge infrastructure requirements and edge container management at Edge Computing Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA on 17 May. Sign up to attend here.
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