We hear so much talk about the Edge today – much of it ambiguous if not outright misinformed – that it might be advisable to discuss edge solutions not only in terms of the “what” and “how,” but the more oft-neglected question of why. So, from the perspective of a company that is the pioneer of edge infrastructure, let’s start by outlining the Edge a bit before we proceed with a discussion of the current and future state of the Edge.
On this much, we can all agree: Edge deployments circumvent the distance, capacity constraints, multiple network hops, and centralized processing loads that exist in traditional Internet architecture. By localizing data acquisition and control functions, as well as the storage of high bandwidth content and applications in close proximity to the end user, edge solutions deliver lower latency, optimal performance, reduced network transport costs, and positive ROI. When inserted into the logical end point of a network, whether the public internet or a private network, edge solutions create a more distributed computing cloud architecture.
Strategically positioned near network provider aggregation points, thus extending the Internet’s edge as close as possible to end users, proximity-based edge data centers come in many form factors. Today, Edge Data Centers® can range from greenfield builds of 10 to 100-plus megawatt (MW) facilities designed for hyperscale and SaaS deployments; to local reach wholesale Edge Data Centers of 1MW to 10MW to support content and network providers, hybrid IT and gaming; to hyperlocal micro-edge data centers of 10kW to 1MW. And all of these data center models can serve unique, critical business roles.
Now that we’ve brought the Edge into greater focus by looking at the “what” and “how,” let’s proceed to the only perspective that really matters: the customer’s.
THE EDGE IS DIFFERENT FOR EACH UNIQUE CUSTOMER
From where the customer sits, the purpose of an edge solution at any scale – the why – is to deliver successful business outcomes. Hence, for cloud providers that are expanding in existing or new markets, success is achieved when their access and/or their availability zones are not only proximate, but scalable and economical by virtue of edge infrastructure. For content providers, it may be when they are able to deliver a superior viewing experience by localizing their media as close to consumer eyeballs as possible, as several independent studies have shown. And for enterprises, success may be defined by facilitating access to a range of local service providers, so they integrate solutions for hybrid and multi-cloud solutions in their respective business regions.
EdgeConneX does not build data centers speculatively. Rather, we align edge infrastructure with the objectives of these various businesses and industries. We accomplish this by working closely with our customers to identify where their Edge needs to be deployed or built, selecting optimal locations, and then designing and rapidly deploying premium, purpose-built edge facilities wherever these companies need them to be.
By providing the most proximate offerings, and in turn facilitating the best possible service and support to their end-users, EdgeConneX empowers its customers to do more.
THE IOT AND THE NEAR FUTURE OF THE EDGE
According to Gartner, in just three years, 75 percent of data will be processed at the Edge. The main driver of this information migration? The proliferation of Internet of Things devices and smart city applications and systems that will transform our homes, buildings, public and private transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and government, as well as other aspects of how we live, work and play.
While cloud computing is already an established element of smart city solutions, edge deployments will be needed to reduce the communications bandwidth required between IoT sensors and the central data center or cloud application by performing analytics and knowledge generation at or near the source of the data.
Driven by a need to overcome cloud overhead in latency and bandwidth, and the demand for more local processing, edge solutions will be necessary to enable billions of new IoT end-points and real-time, localized artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for autonomous systems. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide. Edge infrastructure in the form of hyperlocal micro-edge data centers will be required for smart applications and devices to respond to data almost instantaneously, as it’s being created, especially where matters of human safety are concerned.
As the pioneer in defining and building the Edge, EdgeConneX has delivered a complete spectrum of data center solutions, from hyperlocal to hyperscale. Across three continents, EdgeConneX has built a global footprint of over 40 data centers to support all types of Edge requirements for customers.
We pioneered the Edge, and we are pioneering the next era of the Internet where one size of data center does not fit all.