Edge infrastructure is now being aggressively developed across Data Centers to bring computing as close to the source of data as possible. Strong business benefits have been accrued with each successful deployment, such as improved response times, faster insights, and better bandwidth availability. While the Cloud distributed infrastructure needs data to transverse over a long network, Edge computing offers a more efficient alternative by processing the data where it is created.
However, a broader vision sees Edge as an extension of Colocation Data Centers and Cloud hubs rather than an independent architecture. The business opportunity lies in evolving the current Data Centers into comprehensive service providers that enable interconnections without ever relaying with the Cloud.
Realising the Remote Potential
Edge nodes are essentially planned to be a part of an Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that communicates between different vertical applications without a single point of failure. But, the infrastructure is not limited to accentuating the existing environment. With closer computing, local and undeveloped networks serving millions of users from sub-response zones can be organised to create full-blown Data Centers, ready for transactions, communication, and e-Commerce.
Interconnection will play a key role in this transformation. When building out Edge Data Centers, the data exchange between two partners at the lowest latency and closest proximity would be the make-or-break criteria for the enterprises. In line with this, multi-functional organisations shall look to expand their performance and availability across geographies with the same speeds equivalent to dedicated on-ramps in a Colocation Data Center.
Domains like finance, manufacturing, and telecommunication will be leveraging the growth of Edge computing to draw in the local customer base by including smaller firms.
The Journey to Edge Computing
As Edge computing unlocks a vast span of untapped data created by interconnected devices, new business opportunities to provide reliable and consistent experiences shall see the light of the day. A well-planned Edge approach could keep the workloads up-to-date while maintaining privacy and data residency compliances. But, the process has its own challenges. The limitations on bandwidth, size and computation capacity will need to be addressed if the full range of capabilities is to be accessed. This is where the need to build a scalable architecture that mitigates network security risks and management complexities becomes imperative.
In essence, Edge strategies will need to grow on an incremental basis towards a full-fledged Data Center that is prepared to expand the capacity, acquire real estate, and integrate updated equipment without any time loss.
The Colocation Route
Over time, Colocation Data Centers have evolved to provide a variety of on-demand services such as security, inventory analysis, inspection, maintenance, and on-site assembly. To access these along with the pre-existing infrastructure, Edge computing architectures shall collaborate with Colocation partners.
Colocation providers already host uninterrupted power supplies with ample redundancy and battery backup. This is coupled with physical security, HVAC systems and the best connectivity in every geography. In addition to the reliability, a Colocation partner would also be aligned with the key capabilities required for Edge computing:
- Management of the distributed software at a massive scale
- The ability to leverage diverse equipment through open source technology
- Governance and enforcement of security policies at each digital point
- Deep industry expertise and local knowledge
However, it would be practical to assume that not all Colocation partners would be built equally. While the greatest value generation would be to understand the local regulatory environment, an enterprise will need to invest in providers that can draw a clear picture for data privacy, security, locality, and retention. These will need to be complemented by physical controls such as power utilisation effectiveness, water usage, seismic protection, and fire response.
Below are some of the factors that shall need consideration in depth before choosing a Colocation partner.
The bandwidth available to manage interconnection capabilities between diverse partners and different types of connections required by the same shall be crucial to the architecture.
Since the transformation under the Edge model must see rapid expansion into second and third-tier locations, Data Centers with a global presence would be preferred.
Established Partner Ecosystem
Offering the enterprises a broad range of services, Colocation providers with existing Cloud providers, CDN, carriers, and managed service provider partnerships shall hold the winning differential.
Colocation Data Centers with extensive physical space to scale without compromising security or environmental controls shall always be preferred.
Bandwidth and Redundancies
There must be an over-provision of bandwidth with no risk of crossing the peak usage thresholds in an Edge architecture.
HVAC systems with redundant power sources that ensure business continuity would be required to keep up with the service level agreements even in remote areas.
Security, Admin, And Monitoring
The shared nature of the Colocation facilities needs to be coupled with stringent security policies and full visibility on the status of the equipment.
Cloud vs. Colocation
The most prominent point of differentiation between the Cloud and Colocation providers has always been the availability of wholly-owned facilities with complete control. Although Cloud computing has been treated as an extension of customers’ Data Center, the lack of local telecommunication facilities has always been palpable. To tackle this challenge, providers are installing their infrastructure in both the geographies, but the process is bound to take up considerable time.
In contrast, Edge computing requires physical administration and immediate availability due to its far-strung location proposition. With Public Cloud providers relying on partnerships they don’t control, the entire operation becomes prone to vulnerabilities and unplanned outages.
Cloud providers are expected to address these concerns as the architecture evolves, but enterprises may not have the leisure to wait around until then. The rapid onset of ultra-low latency networks and support for regional applications are being considered as competition-defining factors in multiple domains. Consequentially, the fastest and safest way to enter the Edge computing realm is through a Colocation Data Center provider with a local ecosystem.
- A faster ROI can be experienced, thanks to the pre-existing infrastructures located in the remote areas
- Capacity demands are met with the increasing scale along with data compliant policies
- On-premise staff means the learning curve for new technologies and components is comparatively shorter
- Defined physical, security and data controls ensure that the local requirements are already met
- Peering and interconnection facilitates a data exchange that is missing in Public and Private Clouds
- Regional staff understand the end needs of the local users, thus making them fluent in troubleshooting and issue resolution.
Adding to this, greater agility and flexibility make Colocation Data Centers ready to rapidly provision and scale compute resources exactly where they are needed. Since the on-demand proximity of the servers is where the core concept of Edge computing lies, enterprises could very well benefit by partnering with an Edge Data Center with local roots across the globe.
Structured as an interconnection ecosystem of local, regional, national, and global Internet Service Providers, Cloud On-Ramp Services, Internet Exchanges and Content Delivery Networks, Web Werks manages 3 TIER III Data Centers in India. A cross-country localisation is offered through unhindered access to 15+ Data Centers across Europe, US and APAC in partnership with Iron Mountain.
Web Werks further extends its connectivity to the country’s largest peering exchanges DE-CIX, Extreme IX, and NIXI, priming the environment for Edge computing. Major Hyperscale CSPs like AWS, Azure, and Google come within the ambit of Web Werks’s on-ramp services for Public, Private, SAP-certified, and Hybrid Multi-Cloud deployment.