October 3, 2019 by Siobhan Climer
The rise of cloud computing and the efficiency of large, remotely located data centers requires a new compute model. To lower latency and raise capacity, edge computing will augment the data center to bring compute and storage much closer to the user.
Edge computing is the epitome of agility. While traditional data centers are strategic, large multi-story facilities that support thousands of applications, edge data centers – which could be a ½ rack in a cabinet – can go anywhere and meet more specific, if smaller demands.
It is not an either-or, though. We used the word “augment” purposefully. Edge computing provides an add-on capability that will modernize the traditional data center as the digital transformation sweeping the globe makes new demands that deliver performance and experience to end-users.
An Edge Computing Refresher
Broadly speaking, edge computing moves some computational needs away from the centralized data center to nodes at the edge of the network, improving application performance and decreasing bandwidth requirements. In fact, a recent report showed potential improved latency and data transfer reduction to the cloud of up to 95%!
Is Edge Computing “The New Cloud”
According to Forbes’ Councils Member Frank Cittandino, “the edge is the new cloud”, which is why 2018 saw the interest in edge computing rise.
Certainly, there are similarities. Cloud computing is still considered one of the biggest modern disruptions in technology. It completely changed the architecture of the data center, the frameworks for security, and end-users’ expectations around data access and manipulation.
For example, consider the difference between Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Users today expect the applications they use to be completely up-to-date and accessible anywhere at any time. Exchanging multiple versions of Excel spreadsheets is no longer necessary, solving for a lot of version-control headache. And while end-users may be concerned generally about a data leak, the convenience of cloud-based applications easily wins out, leaving the security complexity to IT to solve.
Edge computing is much the same. High-latency, poor application performance, low bandwidth – these are simply unacceptable to end-users today. With expectations set, IT will need to deliver this to users across the business.
Impact Of IoT And 5G
IT is receiving pressure both from users and competitors. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G switch the limiting factor to compute power. Traditional data centers typically cannot keep up with these new developments, which is why the flexibility of edge computing is so enticing.
67% of manufacturing plants are strategically building “smart factory” operations that use IoT to improve efficiency and safety. Healthcare-related IoT revenues are expected to reach over $135 billion by 2025.
How are businesses making IoT more efficient? Smarter? Faster? Edge computing will ease this transition, putting businesses that opt to engage edge strategically ahead of competitors.
How To Implement Edge
Scaling continues to be one of the biggest challenges for businesses looking to implement edge computing. Principal product manager Jaromir Coufal of Red Hat sums up the difficulty:
“When you have hundreds or thousands of locations, it’s a challenge to manage all of that compute as you continue to scale it out at the edge. For organizations heavily involved with IoT, there are cases where these enterprises can find themselves with millions of different endpoints to manage. This is where you need to automate as much as you can operationally so there is less need for humans to manage the day-to-day activities.”
Coufal makes several recommendations for businesses looking to implement edge computing.
- Perform a phased approach around edge deployment.
- Centralize where you can, distribute where you must.
- Emphasize security.
- Build a team with networking, automation, and security chops.
How Edge Computing Will Change The Data Center
It’s not news that traditional data centers are transforming. Cloud adoption has risen to the point where almost 100% of businesses have at least some portion of their operations in the cloud. Edge computing is simply a next stage in cloud adoption. From smart cities to finance and banking, edge adoption is on the rise and the market is expected to reach almost $7 billion by 2025.
Businesses will see a shift in how they maintain and update data centers, and how opex models will adopt edge computing expenses moving forward. Prepare for the transformation now with a data center assessment by our experts. Our team will analyze your environment, recommend upgrades and strategies for modernization, and help you implement if needed.
Talk with our experts today in a free whiteboard session.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s reading and writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.