Keeping Pace with Digital Transformation: Edge Data Centers Support High-Quality Operations

By Oliver Lindner, FNT Software

To keep pace with digitalization, data processing is being moved to the edge of networks. After all, it’s the best way to support the proliferation of IoT devices and customers’ demands for uninterrupted, fast services. Compute, storage, and network connectivity at the edge guarantees that high-quality services are delivered with geographically distributed resources.

Since IoT is the biggest driver of edge capacity, the demand for edge data centers is expected to increase as IoT data increases. By 2022, the global edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion. While centralized hubs will remain the core of the data center’s network, edge data centers will become more prevalent due to the growing demand for low-latency connections. To ensure a successful edge strategy, businesses must adopt the necessary tools to transform their data centers and meet modern requirements.

Speed, Security, and Scalability

Customers determine value by service quality, performance, and pricing. Since edge computing moves workloads and applications closer to customers, it allows for the data produced by IoT devices to be processed closer to where it is created, instead of sending it across long routes to central data centers or clouds.

Google and Netflix have already adopted edge centers. They cache their content and services at the network edge through third party colocation data centers and specialized edge data center service providers to reach customers in tier 2 and tier 3 markets and to deliver a user experience on par with that of a tier 1 market where the original content servers are located. The fact that tier 2 and tier 3 markets are far away from these servers no longer matters.

Moving data processing to the edge of the network also improves response times. Since edge data centers are physically closer to end users, performance speeds are faster in almost every situation. Keep in mind that while the performance quality increases – the associated costs should not. This is because edge computing doesn’t deliver better services by laying newer cables. Instead, edge computing is all about using a more efficient architecture for transferring and processing data in order to deliver content quickly to local users with minimal latency.

Edge data centers also offer more security, scalability, and uptime than traditional forms of network architecture. Since edge computing distributes processing, storage, and applications across a wide range of devices and data centers, it’s much more difficult for any single disruption, such as a DDoS attack, to take down the entire network. As more data is being processed on local devices rather than transmitting it back to a central data center, edge computing also reduces the amount of data at risk at any one time. Data can be rerouted through multiple pathways to ensure users retain access to the products and information they need.

The scalability and versality of edge computing go hand in hand. Edge data centers can partner with companies in desirable markets to offer new services without having to reconfigure their IT infrastructure. This presents new opportunities for companies to drive growth in a more cost-effective manner as adding new devices won’t impose too much on network bandwidth.

Infrastructure Management

Edge data centers are not identical to core data centers and cannot be managed as such. They present new challenges for data center operators for several reasons. First, they span multiple sites, all of which are connected and are remote and far from the core data center and its IT team. Site specific information must be shared, both locally with on-site personnel and centrally as part of an integrated network. Second, an edge deployment requires more bandwidth, which further increases the complexity. Third, the edge is becoming more intelligent. Legacy physical hardware, which exists back at the core data center, must be managed in conjunction with the new state-of-the-art equipment at edge data centers. This will require a hybrid infrastructure management model for a while, as such a model is the only way to maintain both legacy equipment as well as the new intelligence at the edge.

To ensure a successful edge deployment, data center operators must upgrade operational infrastructure to accommodate modern requirements which includes implementing an infrastructure management tool. The ideal infrastructure management solution should provide complete visibility across all locations, all resources, and all connections, support connectivity to ensure standardized and harmonized network operations, and facilitate network planning to optimize capacity and resource utilization.

Overall, edge data centers can help all types of businesses deliver services and products to an extended customer base with a standardized level of quality. While operating on the edge drives success in a competitive environment, it’s important that infrastructure management teams and network operations managers have the proper tools to plan, manage, and document the network and communications infrastructure. A centralized solution that can manage and optimize the entire data center infrastructure within one network and asset database is the key to delivering better quality services and reliable network connectivity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Oliver Lindner serves as senior consultant for server management for FNT Software. With over 20 years of industry experience as a system analyst, Oliver oversees FNT’s business line data center infrastructure management.

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