In 2022, CIOs and technology executives should prepare for evolving edge computing environments, which run software wherever that software best fits the need — a concept Forrester calls workload affinity. We have identified four edge environments to support a range of workload affinity requirements: the enterprise edge, the operations edge, the engagement edge, and the provider edge. These edge environments give technology executives flexibility to extend critical applications, analytics, and service workloads to enterprises, consumers, and offices.

Workload affinity demand will gain momentum during the next three years, powered by internet of things (IoT), 5G, and business-optimized networking fabrics. Many IoT use cases (e.g., leveraging autonomous vehicles, enabling real-time analytics and predictive monitoring, optimizing critical operational processes) require critical analytics processing at the connected device site before sending relevant data to the cloud for additional AI or machine learning analysis. The rise of IoT and connected asset deployment is encouraging firms in key vertical markets (e.g., manufacturing, retail, healthcare, media, entertainment) to deploy private 5G and business-optimized networking fabrics to enable applications, services, and use cases at these edge environments.

To get on the right path in 2022, you should establish a roadmap of current and future workload affinity initiatives in your organization. Collaborate with your IT, networking, and business strategy stakeholder to identify relevant application, service, and analytics use cases along the cloud-to-edge continuum. It is also important to evaluate offerings from the diverse landscape of vendors that can help extend your cloud-native workload, application, and development strategies (e.g., containers, container orchestration, micro-virtual machines) to relevant edge environments. For additional insight, read Workload Affinity Becomes The Strategy For Edge Computing, or set up some time for a discussion with me.