There’s a lot of talk about edge data centres right now, and there’s a good reason for that: they’re making a big difference in the way we transfer, store and share information with our network of users. Edge computing is a unique approach to delivering content from data centre servers to the end user by moving the content closer to where it’s needed. It shortens the time it takes for content to travel from server to user, which greatly improves the speed at which content can be delivered. Edge data centres are shaking up the business world, and it’s time you get on board.
Until recently, organisations primarily relied on cloud vendors for hosting their data, applications and processing tasks. However, the explosion of Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) has led to an increase in data that companies and public bodies need to process quickly. But with traditional servers coming up against resource limits, edge computing is appealing as an alternative.
PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the global market for edge data centres will more than triple, from $4 billion in 2017 to $13.5 billion in 2024.
Let’s look at some of the trends driving this growth:
It’s easy to think of the Internet as a massive cloud of data that floats around us, but the reality is far from it. The Internet is made of interconnected networks that communicate with each other through physical cables. It’s a series of tubes, as Al Gore famously said.
The problem is, those tubes are getting clogged. As more and more people go online for entertainment, shopping, and work, the Internet has become congested. This congestion causes latency (delay) and packet loss (data loss). You can see this in action when videos buffer or downloads stall.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) were designed to solve these problems by placing servers closer to end users. By taking data centres out of the cloud and putting them closer to you at the “edge” of the Internet, they make data retrieval quicker and more reliable.
That’s why edge data centres will be important going forward as content consumption continues to increase. They’ll help reduce both latency and packet loss for a smoother streaming experience on your devices today—and maybe even on smart devices in your home tomorrow.
5G and 4G infrastructure
As 5G becomes more mainstream, there will be a huge demand for edge computing to support the new network. Edge data centres will become more popular as they are better suited to handle data at faster speeds and in higher volumes. This is because edge data centres operate at the network’s edge, or much closer to the end-user than traditional data centres.
Edge computing is a term that describes putting data processing physically closer to the end-user. This is required as current cloud infrastructures, which usually consist of large centralized data facilities, cannot handle large amounts of data being processed fast enough. At the current time, most mobile devices have to send their data all the way back to a central cloud facility before it can be processed and sent back to a user. However, with the rise of 5G networks and the increase in demand for low latency services this will not be possible.
The solution is edge computing, which involves deploying tiny data centres that can process their own data close to where it’s being used. In this scenario, these small edge data centres would do most of the processing on-site while also sending only key pieces of information back to a central cloud facility.
Autonomous vehicles are the future. Experts have predicted that by 2030, up to 25% of all road traffic will be self-driving cars. As these vehicles become more widespread, edge data centres will be needed to process vast amounts of data and communicate with other vehicles on the road.
The amount of data being processed by driverless cars is immense. In fact, a single car could produce up to 4 terabytes of data every day that needs to be processed and shared in real-time with other cars on the road. To make this happen, cloud server farms are not enough—instead, we need local edge data centres that can process data quickly without a high latency rate. After all, it’s no good knowing where another vehicle is if you receive the information too late to avoid a crash!
With edge data centres located close by, real-time communication between autonomous vehicles will be possible. This will make roads safer for everyone as well as reducing accidents caused by human error.
Gaming is a popular activity and it’s getting more so. The gaming community is expanding at an incredible rate, with the average age of gamers being around 35. With this expansion comes a new market for data centres. In fact, experts are predicting that by 2023, there will be more than 2.7 billion gamers worldwide.
Today, gaming is not just limited to consoles and PC’s. Mobile gaming has now overtaken console gaming to become the most popular platform. In 2019 alone, mobile gaming accounted for almost half of all global game revenues (48%) and will account for 59% by 2022.
Video game developers are increasingly relying on edge computing as a way to improve the quality of games and reduce lag. Edge computing enables real-time gameplay while simultaneously lowering bandwidth costs for companies. As more and more people play games, the demand for edge computing will only increase in the gaming industry.
Edge data centres can aid in the booming field of telemedicine. According to a report from Statistics MRC, the global telemedicine market is expected to reach $106.2 billion by 2025. The adoption of telemedicine is growing because it offers the convenience of delivering high-quality healthcare services to anyone regardless of their location. Telemedicine provides a cost-effective solution for patients in rural areas and others who cannot easily access traditional healthcare facilities. Edge data centres can act as a hub which connects remote patients with providers. The edge locations also provide reliable internet connections that are required for live video feeds, online communication, and data exchange between doctors and patients.
Enterprises and Telecommunication
Companies Drive Edge Data Centre Growth
Edge computing is the next big thing in the data centre industry. The technology allows users to “bring” the cloud closer to home by creating a set of small, localised data centres that collect and process data from IoT devices before sending it to the cloud. This approach enables enterprises and telecommunication companies to distribute their computing resources more efficiently, reducing latency and improving performance.
The edge computing market was valued at USD 2.6 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 13.8 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 30.2% during the forecast period. The research firm MarketsandMarkets has identified enterprises and telecommunication companies as two of the major driving forces behind this growth, with each industry having its own requirements for edge computing solutions. According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, enterprises are looking for edge data centre solutions that provide them with high-performance computing resources closer to home or at remote locations. Meanwhile, telecom companies are seeking edge solutions that will enable them to bring high-speed internet connectivity closer to end users as well as facilitate faster processing of large amounts of data generated by 5G networks.