What’s the Big Deal with Edge Computing Data Centers?

Technology touches nearly every aspect of our everyday lives. We are moving to an App Economy, where everything you want can be reached through your smart phone. Demand for distributed computing grows with each new technology that becomes available. Edge data centers increase the speed and availability of information for end users.

In this diagram we explore some of the technological innovations across many different industries that are reshaping our world and driving the need for edge computing solutions.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Drives Data Demand

In today’s world, change is a constant. Information is created, transported, and consumed at breakneck speeds. Data is now the most valuable commodity around the world, with development, processing, transfer, and dissemination all needing to happen in fractions of a second. Healthcare providers, educators, scientists, businesses, government administrators, and the public at large all rely on the ability to get information wherever they are, at whatever time they are looking for it, and within seconds of requesting it.

As the demand for and creation of data increases, so does the disruption to our world as we know it. According to Gartner Research, by 2020, it is predicted that the number of internet capable devices worldwide will reach over 20 billion. Only five years later, this number is expected to double. Consumer trends and the fourth industrial revolution have caused smart phones, smart homes, and many more applications and systems in the Internet of Things movement to require more bandwidth and higher speeds to support these trends.

From how health professionals interact with their patients, to how our governments interact with the public, data and its protection are front and center priorities. From how educators reach their students, to how weather research is compiled, data storage and processing are keys to success. From how traffic management and flow can be updated and changed, to how evolving AI and ML can speed our capabilities to solve previously impossible problems, data is now the largest disruptive force driving our society. Every bit of this information, at one point or another runs through a data center during its journey from creation to consumption. Today, with the demands across the world for information use, these systems must increase flexibility, spreading access to provide information to larger audiences. That is where edge data centers come in.

Edge Computing Defined

The time it takes for information to travel through a network is known as latency; the lower the latency, the higher the speed data is transferred. Although the systems and networks of today are fast, one challenge that affects the latency is distance. Since many of the internet and cloud systems are located hundreds, even thousands of miles away from many users, distance can play a part in how quickly data is transferred and processed. An edge data center system can cut down on this distance and speed up processing by moving data centers closer to end users to efficiently deliver information.

This is the first blog in our series An Edge on the Future: Preparing for the Edge Data Center Surge, where we explore why edge data centers are important, the elements that go into the design of edge data center systems and how they increase the ability to retrieve, send, and process information, and how changes to communications with the development of 5G, gigabit WIFI and the fourth industrial revolution are affecting how these systems will function.