Stratus launched its new ztC Edge system last week, as part of the company’s push into the industrial edge computing market. This is a move that makes sense, but it’s also a move that will put Stratus in competition with some very well-established edge players. It will additionally put Stratus in competition with Operation Technology (OT) providers and traditional datacenter players rushing to this space. That being said, I believe there are use cases where Stratus will fit. Building off those use cases and expanding into the broader edge market will take some marketing smarts and a strong commitment.What is ztC Edge system? ztC Edge system is a custom form factor compute system designed for industrial edge environments. It’s thinner, shorter, lighter, and taller than your standard rack server, and its fanless design with heat fins makes it look like an industrial appliance. Make no mistakes, though, inside is a system that is well-suited for managing an assembly line, factory floor or wastewater treatment plant. Stratus ztC specifications. Stratus’s ztC Edge system seems to strike a balance between ruggedization and performance. These systems must be able to withstand extreme environments while supporting automated process control driven environments. This means the ztC Edge system is designed to operate in extreme temperatures and poor air quality. Furthermore, this server can be mounted to walls, tables and other surfaces, so it is built to withstand the vibration of heavy machinery. The thinking behind ztC Edge system Stratus seems to be bridging the gap between Operation Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). Consider a manufacturing facility for a large corporation. The IT organization is tasked with driving absolute efficiency. However, there are typically few to no IT resources on hand to deploy and manage the technology at that facility. The ztC Edge system is designed to allow IT to better manage the automated process control that drives manufacturing. Stratus says the ztC Edge system was designed around three principles:
- Simplicity: ztC Edge systems will reside in locations that will require non-technologists to deploy. Deliver a converged OT System designed for zero-touch remote operation.
- Tailored solutions: The devices, systems and servers that drive edge computing are different depending on the industry. Provide tailored solutions that have enhanced systems management to reduce the burden on IT.
- Maximum reliability: A ztC Edge system managing, say, a wastewater treatment process has to have the highest levels of reliability and security. Enable the Stratus partner ecosystem to deploy solutions on a fully protected edge stack.
- Choose a vertical (or two): Find those industries where ztC Edge can be easily adopted due to lack of regulatory burdens or entrenched incumbents. Establishing a leadership position in those initial target markets will allow for Stratus to challenge in tangential markets.
- Establish an edgy identity: Stratus is known as a pioneer in delivering fault tolerant servers and systems. It should be able to leverage this credibility to establish an identity in industrial edge computing. The key is telling the right message to the right audience—and, of course, delivering good technology.
- Manage the growth: After choosing a vertical, Stratus has to be careful to manage its growth within edge computing. It is easy to chase a deal and try to make a solution fit where it otherwise wouldn’t, for the sake of revenue or adding a logo to the customer list. It’s important to keep in mind though that brand equity can be destroyed much faster than it can be built.