An edge data center is small, lightweight, in many cases surprisingly portable, and designed to withstand extreme climate differences without being staffed by human beings. It’s being marketed to enterprises as an alternative to colocation or the cloud, for specialized applications that require close access to the data being gathered, or stationed at a closer distribution point to the end customer, such as video analysis and pre-processing for remote cameras.
But the usefulness of an edge data center will only be determined by the performance of the edge servers it contains. And what are these things, really?
There are no fewer than three schools of thought with respect to what an edge server should be. They are not
- Ruggedization. In many cases, edge data center environments are prone to greater climate extremes than the controlled, tempered, evened-out environments of enterprise facilities. Thus, the proponents of ruggedization argue that special concentrated, modular, and weather-resistant x86 servers offer the best option for reliable performance under pressure.
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