Cloud Computing Moves to the Edge

Ernest Sampera<br/>vXchngeErnest Sampera
vXchnge

By Ernest Sampera is Chief Marketing Officer for vXchnge.

In a time when we all expect instant access to our personal and professional networks, it’s never been more important to have the right technology and strategies in place for supporting today’s advanced users, applications, and data. From business applications like ERPs and Salesforce to the ability to post to Facebook with zero lag time, decreased latency is becoming a “must-have” as business users and consumers demand new levels of efficiency and speed.

To remain competitive and meet the growing demand for more responsive services, IT departments are leveraging edge computing. Edge computing enables companies to put the right data in the right place at the right time, supporting fast and secure access. The result is an improved client experience and, oftentimes, a valuable strategic advantage.

Businesses are Shifting to the Edge

The transition to edge computing is being driven by three rapidly evolving, and often overlapping, dynamics: the growth of IoT, the pace of technology-empowered business, and evolving user expectations.

IoT usage is poised to explode, with over 50 billion things projected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. In fact, the IoT is the most commonly cited reason for a move to an edge computing architecture, as more than 80 percent of IT teams want their data centers to be more available and reliable to keep pace with IoT demands. Edge computing enables faster real-time analysis and lower costs for managing, analyzing and storing IoT data.

Today, almost every company in every industry sector needs near-instant data to be successful. Restaurant chains need to know where their food product is coming from, when it expires, and when it will arrive on their doorstep. A mistake in the supply chain could have consequences that range from losing a loyal customer to a food safety crisis that results in food-borne illness. Retail stores need to know what customers bought yesterday, how much they spent, and what they are looking to buy next. In the financial sector, milliseconds can make a dramatic difference for high-frequency trading algorithms. And, in healthcare, real-time patient information can be the difference between life and death.  These scenarios require speed and scale to support latency-sensitive, machine-to-machine data.

When it comes to consumers, expectations are high, and brands must be prepared. Edge computing allows businesses with a geographically dispersed customer base to deliver the exceptional availability consumers demand, while also enabling data to be shared across the globe instantly. It also enables businesses with remote or branch offices to replicate cloud services locally, improving performance and productivity.

Moving to the Edge

According to a recent BI Intelligence report, the manufacturing, utility, energy and transportation industries are expected to adopt edge computing first, followed by smart cities, agriculture, healthcare and retail.

Seventy-nine percent of IT teams feel that having customers closer to their content is the most important benefit of a data center. Utilizing an edge data center in markets close to customers means companies can provide better service, with less physical distance and minimal latency.

When choosing an edge data center provider, organizations should look for providers committed to standards such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, or SAE 16 Type II, depending on their particular industry. A data center that is certified can provide peace of mind to companies and their customers that their sensitive data, and ultimately their brand, is protected.

A Need for Speed

The decision to implement an edge computing architecture is typically driven by the need for location optimization, security, and most of all, speed.

The importance of speed to every business operation cannot be overstated. It’s no longer a competitive advantage; it’s a necessity. Today’s data management systems require the most immediate information to support “in the moment” decisions that can have an impact of millions of dollars to the bottom line. By bringing processing to the edge of the network, businesses reduce latency by prioritizing processing and lightening the load on the primary network, supporting better, faster decision-making.

Location optimization reduces data processing from minutes and hours to milliseconds and microseconds and as close to real time as you can currently get. Less physical distance translates to minimal latency and greater reliability. Allowing customers in Nashville to receive the same speed and level of service as those in New York is one example of what edge computing can enable.

While cloud computing won’t be slowing down anytime soon, edge computing is finding its place in IT architectures.  Cloud computing and edge computing provide significant, yet different, benefits, and smart IT strategists will be sure take full advantage of both.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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