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Edge Data Centers: Why Are They Being Used?

NOVEMBER 22, 2021

 

by Michael Ruhe, Product Manager Engineered Solutions

In our previous blog post, we highlighted the different types of edge centers. But, one of the more important points to the discussion is understanding what edge data centers are and what pain point they are addressing in the broader market.

 

So, let’s take a look as to why everyone is talking about them and why there will be a growing need in the years to come.

 

Edge data centers are named so because they live on the periphery or “edge” of a larger network away from the traditional hubs or interconnects we are accustomed to. The objective of having these data centers at the “edge” is to -

 

  1. Reduce the latency issues that stem from the transmission distance associated with communicating to servers in distant data centers 
  2. Move the processing of time-sensitive data as close to the end user as possible

Making this move to the edge and minimizing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted back and forth between centralized data centers - or hosted cloud instances - is one of the best ways to address the problem of latency.

 

Why is there so much focus and talk about latency now? A big reason is just the sheer number of devices and end users that are either consuming or transmitting data.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow in the number of connected devices by 9% in 2021 and more than double by 2025.

 

2021

12.3B  Active Endpoints

2025

27B  Active Endpoints

This growth of IoT devices isn’t limited to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops – industrial IoT for manufacturing and agriculture (drones, AI-drive automation, etc.) are also rapidly on the rise. The growth of IoT will only further accelerate with the roll out of 5G cellular services giving more users access to high bandwidth internet connections wherever they go.

 

With all of these now-connected users, online services, such as streaming, mobile gaming, and shopping are all vying for this customer base. One thing they are looking at to make sure they capture and use to retain these customers is in the experience they provide.

 

Being able to reduce latency allows those businesses to optimize the experience by reducing inconveniences, such as buffering of videos/streams, delays in page loading or transaction processing.

 

A slight delay experienced by the customer in any of those areas can lead to them switching to another service or online retailer, directly resulting in lost revenue and repeat business.

 

Even brick-and-mortar retailers will benefit from reducing latency as they look to enhance their customers experience by implementing new ideas. Innovations, such as checkout-less shopping or augmented reality-based display systems will generate a massive amount of data that needs to be processed quickly to give the customer a seamless experience.

 

Solving the latency issue is also going to be a vital piece to many emerging technologies or industries where real time data processing can have a direct effect on the safety of individuals.

 

One such emerging technology that will benefit from edge data centers is the autonomous driving market, where being able to handle the quick computing needs of self-driving vehicles will bring an improvement to safety of drivers, along with reducing the risk of accidents and traffic congestion.

 

If the COVID-19 pandemic that swept across the world has taught us anything, it is that the way we work and interact in most industries will never be the same. 

 

Remote operations and working from home are a direct result that will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

 

As companies begin to evaluate what the future of their workplace looks like, many are pushing to remain at home, maintain work-life balance/integration, and many lifestyle changes that occurred over this period.

 

In the end, the need for quickly communicating and processing data close to the point of generation is only going to grow in the coming years- and edge data centers are going to be a critical element in accomplishing that.

 

Edited by Nicole Kristof, Digital Marketing Specialist


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