By Lex Boost, Leaseweb USA
The immense volume of data being created in the delivery of digital commerce combined with the need to process it quickly has been creating huge challenges for companies reliant on computing this data. These problems have only been exacerbated by the proliferation of IoT devices – a trend that increases the quantity of data collected but also the distance at which that data is being collected from traditional data centers. As a result, solutions that support data processing either at or near the source of where it is generated are coming to the fore.
Most notably, edge computing – where data processing takes place at or near the source of the data, as opposed to relaying it to a centralized location like with cloud computing – has surfaced as an elegant solution to this once crippling concern.
Understanding The Edge And Its Benefits
Even though edge computing – in the form of remote working and branch offices – has been around for many years, we are now seeing increased demand for edge data centers due to booming markets like IoT.
In edge computing, data is processed by the device itself or by a local computer or server, which offers several benefits. Most notably, edge computing can help eliminate costs and ensure that applications can be used effectively in remote locations. While some data will always need to be processed in a corporate data center, companies can leverage edge computing to minimize network bandwidth usage while boosting performance and reliability by building infrastructure at the edge.
Edge computing can help decrease the impact felt by device failure. With the data localized, if one device fails, there is often no effect on other devices. Keeping the data local also helps improve security and compliance: the inherently distributed nature of such data collection and processing means there are fewer opportunities for cybercriminals to access all data simultaneously.
Delivering and keeping data in smaller edge repositories makes it far easier to compartmentalize it according to factors such as type and region, for example, rather than having to pull extracts of data from one central database, making aggregation and real-time analytics easier to deliver.
With edge computing, data is processed much closer to the source. This means latency between devices and data processing layers is reduced, leading to faster response times and better decision making. Additionally, with less data requiring to be processed in the cloud, network capacity for other workloads increases, and infrastructure and networking costs decrease.
Building Edge Computing Into A Data Center Strategy
In this era of massive data growth, data centers must adapt if they are to avoid being overwhelmed. For many organizations, extending their infrastructure to the edge will become a key part of their strategy, but to do so successfully requires careful planning and an appreciation of the requirements that make it practical. Key factors to consider include:
- Ease of deployment – how easy is it to build edge infrastructure in remote locations when there aren’t full-time IT staff based at each location?
- Reliability – how can organizations guarantee reliability across dozens (or even hundreds) of edge sites without the need to constantly travel to every location to service the remote infrastructure?
- Automation and self-healing – the only practical way to ensure reliability and maintain control over management and service issues at the edge is to invest in technologies that can both automate key processes and also mitigate problems (keeping downtime to a minimum) all without human intervention.
- Scalability – edge computing needs will vary depending on the type of business, seasonality, etc. The infrastructures created need to offer the flexibility to scale up and back down again, depending on these demand fluctuations.
Our hyper-connected future will rely heavily on the capabilities offered by edge computing. Traditional centralized data collection and processing infrastructure alone cannot support the ubiquitous integration of digital technology into business and society. Instead, localized computing will enable the continued success of key tech trends, from IoT to a huge new adoption of remote working.
About The Author
Lex Boost is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leaseweb USA. He is responsible for the development and execution of Leaseweb’s core vision and strategy across the United States. With over 20 years’ experience in the digital industry, he has gained leadership experience from a broad range of organizations and cultures, including both B2B and B2C markets, in startups, as well as large corporations.