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Data Centers Must Prepare For The Data Deluge And Changing Demands On Infrastructure

The data genie in the bottle—the need for instant data anywhere, anytime—is loose, fueled by the tremendous growth in cloud computing, digital media, 5G and the advent of IoT; the number of connected people, devices and sensors is expected to surpass the trillion figure. In particular, these IoT (Internet of Things) devices range from connected consumer appliances to smart industrial machines and even connected cars, and they’ll quickly swamp today’s Internet infrastructure with unprecedented data volume and velocity. This explosion will place tremendous demands on network and IT infrastructure, according to Gartner’s Maverick Research, becoming the main driver for a new architectural paradigm commonly called edge computing. It will shift the center of data production and computing away from large data centers and out to the edge.

The appetite for data is growing, and the demand for instant data is, in many ways, creating a technological revolution. It’s changing the computing world—from how people interact with technology to the basic infrastructure of the computing industry, to the speed of meeting the storage and processing needs of data demand as it compounds exponentially each minute. This shift in data and resulting traffic flows has a tremendous impact on the data center industry. Latency and performance become the lowest common denominator. The edge then becomes the lowest latency point between service and consumption. It means putting your content as close to the eyeballs as possible, your cloud gaming platform as close to the gamers as possible, your applications and workloads as close to enterprises as possible and your IoT data aggregation points as close to the sensors as possible. The service providers that go to the edge the fastest will offer differentiated user experience with material benefits in performance gained from that proximity and the added efficiency and economic benefits of being closer to their customers.

To remain competitive, data center providers must adapt to the world’s commitment to digital transformation, including cloud storage and the enormous amounts of data from IoT devices. According to a DataAge 2025 study commissioned by Seagate, 2018 trends affecting the data center space illustrate how edge computing is transforming the need for data center proximity while putting different demands on facilities to optimize and manage infrastructure by deploying networking solutions that steer the direction, structure and function of data center operations.

Edge computing and SDN-enabled data centers are just some of the trends illustrating the interdependence between data and the data centers that safeguard and enable communications. The insatiable demand for content and the ongoing collection of information as well as processing of that information is also driving the demand for a new Internet, including a more distributed network architecture. Optimizing the data center and the network infrastructure affects the volume, speed and preferred location of data creation and consumption. Increased data demands already indicate the need for a robust Internet infrastructure and instantly accessible data centers, from core to edge and micro edge, to support, store and interconnect data—soon from nearly every device.

Moving to the Edge Data Center
Many global corporations who provide cloud-based business applications for human resources, customer management and business-process modules have jumped into the edge data center market to optimize end users’ experience. In business, numerous scenarios require immediate access to data—from asset management, process optimization and predictive analytics to the real-time needs of supply-chain management in a hyperconnected world.

As a result, industry experts recognize that edge computing is the new computing architecture, supplementing and replacing traditional cloud computing and adding more edge data centers. The fundamental idea behind edge computing is to distribute computing and storage resources across millions or even billions of different devices and locations to provide the distributed support necessary to meet the growing need for digital applications and services. Edge solutions are designed to complement data center and cloud services by serving as a decentralized extension of the campus networks, cellular networks, data center networks or the cloud.

Empowering Data Centers With Edge Computing
According to IDC, the demand for data will continue to escalate in 2019 and the structure for services will change as the industry ebbs and flows with technological advancements. Fueling the demand for data consumption is edge computing. There are several reasons to define the movement toward distributed edge computing, but they can be simplified into several strategic benefits: speed, capacity, efficiency, cost and responsiveness.

According to another Gartner report, edge computing and the distributed architecture it requires will be a necessary solution for all digital businesses by 2022. And 40 percent of large enterprises will be integrating edge-computing principles into their 2021 projects, up from less than 1 percent in 2017. Edge computing supports a business ecosystem that thrives on fast data and real-time holistic management.

Embracing the Disruption of Edge Computing
The implications of the move from a central, cloud-based computing network to a more distributed edge-computing model are profound, particularly relative to the demands on a wide range of devices that live at the edge. Just as the transition from mainframes to PC-based client-server architectures had an enormous impact on the tech industry, the transition from a cloud-based model to an IoT-driven edge computing environment will have a huge impact and require every business to adapt to accelerating rates of change.

The edge-computing world will place more demands on both end-point devices and an entire range of new intermediary devices, such as gateways and edge servers, that will enable a full edge-computing environment. These devices will need considerable built-in computing and storage capabilities to handle some applications and workloads. Edge resources will continue to pass along workloads to the cloud, but the long-term goal will be to distribute workloads across many different edge elements.

In an industry of disruption and ever improving technology, data centers are constantly responding to change and innovation. Disruptive trends are providing increased productivity, agility, value and data center capabilities. These trends introduce exciting potential, and now’s the time to consider how edge computing and the future of data centers may affect your operations.

About the Author – Phillip Marangella has more than 20 years of strategy, business development and marketing experience working in the telecom, technology and data center sectors. As chief marketing officer at EdgeConneX, Phillip develops and executes marketing strategy and ecosystem-development plans. He was previously VP of Business Development, focusing initially on building out the company’s international footprint as well as cloud and IoT ecosystems. Before joining EdgeConneX, he held senior executive positions in global strategy, marketing and business development for such leading providers as Equinix, CoreSite, Verizon Business and Nortel Networks. Phillip earned a master’s degree in international business from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego. – Data Center Journal

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