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Introducing Google Distributed Cloud for retail and manufacturing

Customers in retail and manufacturing are looking for ways to improve legacy on-premises development for applications such as point-of-sale systems and factory operations, while also building rich new experiences like automated order taking, AI-based visual inspection, and cashierless checkout. However, they struggle to build, deploy, and manage modern workloads while sustaining current applications that can be running in tens or thousands of locations. 

Today we are happy to announce general availability Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers, a new configuration of Google Distributed Cloud Edge that is optimized for installation in retail stores, restaurants, or manufacturing facilities. Consisting of three small-form-factor servers that directly connect to a location’s network equipment, Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers lets customers easily deploy fully managed, highly available Google Kubernetes Engine clusters in tens and thousands of locations, sometimes in environments with limited or intermittent internet access, so they can scalably manage business-critical applications that support local operations, including AI-assisted applications like AI visual inspection.

Applications are critical to providing quality experiences to retail customers and keep manufacturing lines running. However, customers with multiple manufacturing plants or thousands of retail locations struggle to deploy, manage, and ensure the high availability of these applications at scale. Some customers today optimize for management by centralizing applications in the cloud. However, periods of limited bandwidth or intermittent connectivity can result in application slowness or even outages. Others deploy servers locally, only to struggle with high operational cost, because each location needs to be separately managed. There’s also increased operational risk, because servers are often a single point of failure, and application fixes can take weeks to months to deploy to all locations if there is insufficient deployment tooling. Lastly, as customers add new AI-based applications, they struggle with platform sprawl because these applications require net-new servers with additional compute and graphics capabilities. You can learn more about the key considerations driving these decisions and more in these customer insight reports for Manufacturing and Retail IT decision makers.

Build apps on the cloud; deploy and scale on-premises 

With Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers, customers can deploy a modern and fully managed application platform to their locations, with Google Cloud’s best-in-class tools to manage applications at scale. Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers are designed and optimized to run business-critical applications locally, keeping operations running even during times of limited or intermittent internet connectivity. Further, Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers are fully-managed, leveraging Google’s industry-leading automation and site reliability engineering practices to keep operational costs low, even at scale, with built-in redundancy to enable non-stop operations even when a server fails. Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers include Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) by default, and a suite of application orchestration tools that allow customers to rapidly and reliably deploy new applications — and updates to existing applications — to all locations. These capabilities let customers centralize applications in the cloud, while enjoying the latency and connectivity advantages of running applications locally. Finally, Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers support both VMs and containers, with optional GPU, allowing customers to run both existing and new AI-based applications on a single platform, reducing sprawl. You can learn more about the opportunities and use cases that edge computing unlocks for retailers in this blog.

Google Distributed Cloud Edge server configuration 

Ruggedized Edge Rack server

Size (WxHxD in): 17 x 1.7 (1RU) x 19

Temp: -5°C to 55°C

Acoustics: 38 dBA (Typical), 58 dBA (Max)

Right-sized configurations

16c/32vCPU, 64GB RAM, 1.6TB User Disk

32c/64vCPU, 128GB RAM, 3.2TB User Disk


“While cloud computing has enabled unprecedented scalability, simplicity, and agility for customers across a wide variety of industries, adoption for local applications has been limited because of the need to run applications at each location,” said Ankur Jain, Vice President of Engineering for Google Distributed Cloud. “With Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers, we combine the best of both worlds: the scalability and agility of the cloud with the availability of local processing.”

Retail and manufacturing from cloud to the edge

Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers conveniently placed in retail outlets, fast casual storefronts, or manufacturing floors can help IT decision makers in retail and manufacturing in a few ways:

Scale cloud enabled modern infrastructure on-premises. Build modern cloud-based applications in the cloud and deploy and scale from a single retail store or warehouse to thousands of locations. 

Reduce cost of operations. Improve and optimize IT cost and resource spend with fully managed hardware and software from Google.

Customers can start today by ordering one or more Google Distributed Cloud Edge servers configurations directly from Google Cloud. Trained technicians perform initial installations on-site, after which Google Cloud fully manages the entire platform, including installing software updates, optimizing the configuration, and monitoring the hardware. Developers can launch and update containers or VMs at scale, in a controlled manner to a single location, a whole region or the whole world, using the same Google Cloud tools that they use to manage large cloud environments, such as GKE Config Sync. In case of hardware failure, the system continues to operate while Google automatically dispatches a technician to replace the server. 

You can learn more about Google Distributed Cloud Edge configuration pricing here.

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