Edge computing doesn’t always get the acclaim other emerging technologies get, but when you consider the range of experiences and services it will enable, you can see why so many (myself included) are excited by the possibilities on offer. According to Gartner, edge computing is set to become an “innovation trigger,” with mainstream adoption expected as early as 2020 alongside other enabling technologies such as 5G, blockchain, serverless computing and quantum computing.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand (50 per cent of enterprise organisations are planning to implement IoT within the next 3 years), the amount of data being generated will skyrocket. This shift will create new needs, like the ability to analyse and act on data in real-time, which requires new solutions. Edge computing will play a major role in IoT deployments and therefore represents a major opportunity for traditional data centres.
Over the coming years, edge computing solutions will be integral to processing and acting on the data generated by connected devices more quickly, as it will allow the processing of information to be performed closer to where it is being collected or generated. Not only will this enhanced processing power help deal with the rise in data quantities, it will also increase the speed and efficiency of data processing. In turn, this will provide real-time insights from the IoT data that is being collected, helping organisations to scale networks and capture the true value of next-generation connectivity solutions such as 5G networks.
Edge computing is set to play a vital role in wider IoT deployments
As the Internet of Things grows, edge computing will allow data processing to take place closer to where data is being generated, enabling data analysis in near real-time. Edge computing will also help reduce connectivity costs by removing the need for super-fast connectivity between devices and traditional data centres. Instead, super-fast connectivity can be reserved for data that needs to be processed urgently and other connectivity arrangements can be made for non-urgent data.
There are also issues with security and data privacy, particularly amidst the growing hypersensitivity around how data is stored and who has access to it. For example, with most mobile devices now able to process data effectively without the need for data to be transported anywhere, end users can have access to the instant personalised experiences they crave – all without the risk of their data being unnecessarily exposed.
Ultimately, edge computing will be integral to processing and acting on IoT data more quickly, putting organisations and end users in the best position to get the most out of the IoT.
IoT edge computing and the impact of data centres on the data landscape
Edge computing will change the way data is stored and processed, but traditional data centres will continue to serve a purpose for processing the core data that requires long-term retention.
The traditional data centre model won’t become obsolete by any means and will still be used for a wide range of functions. However, the rise of edge computing could bring about a change in the data centre landscape, with larger numbers of smaller data centres built closer to population centres like cities and business parks.
Data centre infrastructure therefore could change and slowly become more distributed. In this case there will likely be more storage hubs in regional markets and smaller cities, as well as micro data centres bolted onto parts of the existing communications infrastructure, such as telecom towers. As more computing power and storage is needed to handle rapidly growing numbers of edge applications, it makes sense to place this on top of existing infrastructure.
Where will date centres sit in the market?
Many experts have predicted that a data deluge will come with the growth of the Internet of Things, with unprecedented levels of data generated from the growing number of connected devices. This increase in data generation will also bring with it the need for more storage, in traditional data centres or modular data centres.
Our goal will be to provide the necessary data centre solutions that will enable organisations to store and process the data in the most effective and appropriate way. Demand for these services is already rapidly growing. Many organisations have also started to create cloud infrastructures for batch processing information gathered from IoT devices
So, although changes are certainly coming, there will be plenty of opportunities for data centres over the coming years. There can be no escaping the fact that edge computing will have a major impact on global connectivity. Data centres will have to be prepared to adapt to these changes and find their new position in the data landscape of the future.
Edge computing will have a definite impact on traditional data centres as it addresses the need for computational capacity for edge data centres, especially when it comes to IoT, but it isn’t the only growing trend. Other tech fields such as machine learning and AI are also growing. Both need quantities of computing power that the edge simply cannot provide.
In the near future, data centres will support Edge Computing/IoT because of the need for mass data analysis. But for the moment, it’s more of a niche area and is one of the many growing tech trends relying on traditional data centres.
Massimo Bandinelli, Cloud & Data Center Marketing Manager, Aruba