AWS Architecture Blog

Let’s Architect! Architecting for the edge

Edge computing comprises elements of geography and networking and brings computing closer to the end users of the application.

For example, using a content delivery network (CDN) such as AWS CloudFront can help video streaming providers reduce latency for distributing their material by taking advantage of caching at the edge. Another example might look like an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that helps a company run business logic in remote areas or with low latency.

IoT is a challenging field because there are multiple aspects to consider as architects, like hardware, protocols, networking, and software. All of these aspects must be designed to interact together and be fault tolerant.

In this edition of Let’s Architect!, we share resources that are helpful for teams that are approaching or expanding their workloads for edge computing We cover macro topics such as security, best practices for IoT, patterns for machine learning (ML), and scenarios with strict latency requirements.

Build Machine Learning at the edge applications

In Let’s Architect! Architecting for Machine Learning, we touched on some of the most relevant aspects to consider while putting ML into production. However, in many scenarios, you may also have specific constraints like latency or a lack of connectivity that require you to design a deployment at the edge.

This blog post considers a solution based on ML applied to agriculture, where a reliable connection to the Internet is not always available. You can learn from this scenario, which includes information from model training to deployment, to design your ML workflows for the edge. The solution uses Amazon SageMaker in the cloud to explore, train, package, and deploy the model to AWS IoT Greengrass, which is used for inference at the edge.

 High-level architecture of the components that reside on the farm and how they interact with the cloud environment

High-level architecture of the components that reside on the farm and how they interact with the cloud environment

Security at the edge

Security is one of the fundamental pillars described in the AWS Well-Architected Framework. In all organizations, security is a major concern both for the business and the technical stakeholders. It impacts the products they are building and the perception that customers have.

We covered security in Let’s Architect! Architecting for Security, but we didn’t focus specifically on edge technologies. This whitepaper shows approaches for implementing a security strategy at the edge, with a focus on describing how AWS services can be used. You can learn how to secure workloads designed for content delivery, as well as how to implement network protection to defend against DDoS attacks and protect your IoT solutions.

The AWS Well-Architected Tool is designed to help you review the state of your applications and workloads. It provides a central place for architectural best practices and guidance

The AWS Well-Architected Tool is designed to help you review the state of your applications and workloads. It provides a central place for architectural best practices and guidance

AWS Outposts High Availability Design and Architecture Considerations

AWS Outposts allows companies to run some AWS services on-premises, which may be crucial to comply with strict data residency or low latency requirements. With Outposts, you can deploy servers and racks from AWS directly into your data center.

This whitepaper introduces architectural patterns, anti-patterns, and recommended practices for building highly available systems based on Outposts. You will learn how to manage your Outposts capacity and use networking and data center facility services to set up highly available solutions. Moreover, you can learn from mental models that AWS engineers adopted to consider the different failure modes and the corresponding mitigations, and apply the same models to your architectural challenges.

An Outpost deployed in a customer data center and connected back to its anchor Availability Zone and parent Region

An Outpost deployed in a customer data center and connected back to its anchor Availability Zone and parent Region

AWS IoT Lens

The AWS Well-Architected Lenses are designed for specific industry or technology scenarios. When approaching the IoT domain, the AWS IoT Lens is a key resource to learn the best practices to adopt for IoT. This whitepaper breaks down the IoT workloads into the different subdomains (for example, communication, ingestion) and maps the AWS services for IoT with each specific challenge in the corresponding subdomain.

As architects and developers, we tend to automate and reduce the risk of human errors, so the IoT Lens Checklist is a great resource to review your workloads by following a structured approach.

Workload context checklist from the IoT Lens Checklist

Workload context checklist from the IoT Lens Checklist

See you next time!

Thanks for joining our discussion on architecting for the edge! See you in two weeks when we talk about database architectures on AWS.

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Luca Mezzalira

Luca Mezzalira

Luca is Principal Solutions Architect based in London. He has authored several books and is an international speaker. He lent his expertise predominantly in the solution architecture field. Luca has gained accolades for revolutionizing the scalability of front-end architectures with micro-frontends, from increasing the efficiency of workflows, to delivering quality in products.

Laura Hyatt

Laura Hyatt

Laura Hyatt is a Solutions Architect for AWS Public Sector and helps Education customers in the UK. Laura helps customers not only architect and develop scalable solutions but also think big on innovative solutions facing the education sector at present. Laura's specialty is IoT, and she is also the Alexa SME for Education across EMEA.

Vittorio Denti

Vittorio Denti

Vittorio Denti is a Solutions Architect at AWS based in London. After completing his M.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milan) and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), he joined AWS. Vittorio has a background in Distributed Systems and Machine Learning, and a strong interest in cloud technologies. He’s especially passionate for software engineering, building ML solutions, and putting ML into production.

Zamira Jaupaj

Zamira Jaupaj

Zamira is an Enterprise Solutions Architect based in the Netherlands. She is highly passionate IT professional with over 10 years of multi-national experience in designing and implementing critical and complex solutions with containers, serverless, and data analytics for small and enterprise companies.