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How Edge Data Centers Satisfy Data-Hungry Consumers

Warren McCarty

Consider all the things we do now with our devices that weren’t happening a decade ago. Low-voltage systems, such as security, nurse call and fire alarms, are connecting directly to enterprise networks. Cloud-based services and virtualization were just becoming business discussions; now, the number of enterprises using these applications increases every day. Seventy-two (72%) of people in the United States report owning a smartphone.


When streaming online content or searching online, the average user probably doesn’t consider how the data is delivered—fast and relevant are key. 


As Millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce—two generations comfortable with technology as part of everyday living—expectations are high and will continue to increase with new expectations in terms of what devices and connections can and should deliver.

People today insist on rich and relevant content delivered with no lag time despite the increasing volume of users and devices—and we know high network latency, caused by downloads, streaming, etc., can significantly reduce performance and increase security risk. Combine increasing numbers of users and devices with expectations and it makes one wonder how the industry will address this encroaching challenge—by moving content physically closer to users through edge data centers.


Edge Data Centers Defined

red pins on a map

Edge data centers contain all the components of a regular data center in a smaller scale.

Referred to as “edge computing” or “fog computing,” edge data centers deliver a rich media experience by processing content deliver in various smaller data centers spread across geographic areas vs. in one central location.

In essence, one main data center is surrounded by smaller edge data  centers proximate to sets of users abbreviating data transmission and improving network speed and bandwidth.


Edge Data Centers & Improved Performance

Bandwidth-intensive applications and data routinely accessed by groups of users, whether cloud-based services, gaming, streaming content, complex diagrams or medical images, generates constant traffic that slows network response time and reduces productivity.


Storing data geographically closer to users who access it facilitates faster deliver with less opportunity for problems to occur along the way (e.g., a national architecture firm storing large design and architectural files may find it beneficial to move its data closer to 'the edge' by locating proximate edge data centers near office locations, speeding up performance, reducing user frustration and improving productivity).


Smaller May Be Better

Data center complexity is rarely a good thing. As systems become more complex so does cost, management complexity and opportunity for error. 


As data center footprints expand, oftentimes the complexity and connections among systems equally expand requiring more floor space, staff resources and cost. When IT resources are dispersed across several locations, performance is improved because if one edge data center goes down, other locations aren’t affected.


Moving Closer to the Edge

Moving data to the edge will be a slow process. Edge data centers aren’t yet commonplace however, interest is growing as IT professionals learn more about the performance and cost benefits. According to an April 2016 survey (Green House Data), 52% of IT professionals believe edge data centers will reduce costs via shorter backbone transport. The same survey suggests nearly half of IT professionals surveyed plan to add an edge data center in the next 12 months.


We're here and ready to answer your questions about edge data centers with solutions designed to reduce complexity and ensure availability.