Definitions of what the edge is invariably differ depending on who you talk to. In general, the edge is referred to as the colocation or on-premises deployment used to put compute closer to end-users. And there is no question that the edge is growing at a blistering pace around the world, with at least one report projecting that the edge will reach US$43.4 billion by 2027.
The edge is growing
Part of the reason for the growing number of edge deployments can be attributed to the accelerated growth of digital transformation roadmaps. Specifically, the new digital norm brought on by pervasive digitalisation and then fuelled by the pandemic has significantly increased the velocity of digital transformation.
Everything from high-definition content streaming, video conferencing and VoIP calls, as well as applications that require either reliable, high-speed Internet, or low latency is further increasing the demand for edge deployments. Moreover, upcoming technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to further drive edge growth.
While the edge is made up of either infrastructure edge or devices, the devices it serves ranges across a wide spectrum of devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, or even autonomous vehicles or drones. On their part, enterprises are rolling out more edge deployments and acquiring additional bandwidth to actualise the true potential of their distributed application stacks. Unsurprisingly, they are turning to colocation providers to enable their edge infrastructure.
Roles of edge
From a bank of racks back at a large regional data centre, to a couple of appliances sitting in a corner at a retail outlet, the edge is multi-layered. Below are some of the top scenarios that are driving edge deployments today:
- Market expansion: As businesses grow out of their core markets to expand into the secondary and tertiary markets.
- Content CDNs: Streaming media providers and content caches are deployed across multiple data centres globally to be closer to users.
- Healthcare: From telehealth to mobile computing labs, hospitals are turning to the edge to make fast decisions.
- Next-gen applications: To support new, cutting-edge usage scenarios such as autonomous vehicles and robots in logistics.
Expect edge computing to modernise the traditional data centre by bringing compute closer to the end-user. As edge computing expands, it will also spur growth in both core and edge deployments, resulting in the growth of hybrid infrastructure.
To succeed with edge computing, be sure to partner with the right vendor that can help establish the ecosystem of cloud and network providers needed to meet key business initiatives and roadmaps. Of course, new edge deployments must also be supported by robust infrastructure, including Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) such as those from Schneider Electric for reliable power.
Article by Michael Kurniawan, Vice President – Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric