As more content and services are consumed online, and as more and more data-generating devices are connected to networks, we are seeing more and more compute and storage capacity popping up in places that didn’t have a need for it before. These are factory floors, retail stores and retailer distribution warehouses, office buildings, telco central offices, and secondary data center markets. Collectively, these places are referred to as “the edge,” although there are big differences between what various edge data centers do and how they are designed.
We are seeing at least two broad categories of edge data centers: those designed to improve user experience and slash data transport costs for content providers and those that are built to bring compute capacity closer to where data is generated.
Facilities in the first category are built in places that aren’t typically thought of as top data center markets. They give content and cloud providers storage and compute capacity closer to their end users and facilitate interconnection with local connectivity providers who can deliver their content to those users. EdgeConneX, the company we profile below, is perhaps the best example of a provider that specializes in this type of edge data centers.
The second category describes data storage and compute capacity at manufacturing plants, in office buildings, or retail stores. The amount of connected devices in these buildings is growing, and companies want to use the data those devices generate to improve operational efficiencies and to create new business opportunities. Sending all that data to a centralized remote data center is not feasible for many such applications, so they deploy smaller pods of IT capacity on-site, close to where the data is generated. Emerson’s new mobile app for edge IT deployments, covered below, is aimed at those users.
Here’s a collection of articles we published in September, focusing on edge data center trends:
Can EdgeConneX Disrupt Incumbent Data Center Providers? - It might seem counter-intuitive that a private data center company building in secondary markets could impact future earnings for the big publicly held data center REITs, but it appears there are some game-changing developments underway.
Emerson Intros Mobile App for Managing Tiny Data Centers - A server closet in the corner of an office or in a hospital may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about data centers, but the reality is that an enormous amount of the world’s IT capacity sits in small rooms just like that.
Taking Data to the Edge: CDN's Role Grows in the Data Center - At the cusp of the digital revolution, businesses and individual users are using more content, richer applications, and improved experiences. At the core of this technological shift is data and our capability to deliver and control its distribution.
When Selecting a Data Center Provider, Keep an Eye on the Edge - As your business and user base become more distributed, there’s a lot more data to keep an eye on. You need to deploy technologies that can keep pace with today’s digital demands. This means working with the right kind of data center partners, service providers who can keep up with your business.
Also be sure to check out our earlier feature on the way edge data centers are changing the geographic layout of the internet:
How Edge Data Centers are Changing the Internet's Geography - Edge data centers quite literally extend the “edge” of the internet further from the traditional internet hubs in places like New York, Northern Virginia, Dallas, or Silicon Valley.