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Moving to the edge: why edge data centres are becoming more and more important.

Posted by on July 14, 2017
Cloud computing and computer networking concept

The data centre industry is shifting and there is no longer a linear data centre model. More and more, the industry is moving toward the use of edge data centres.

In fact, according to Will Cappelli, research VP, Gartner, “The large enterprises in the first decade of 21st century had anywhere from one to four data centers. The data center used to be the central nervous system of the enterprise. With cloud, IoT, edge computing and the deployment of peer to peer networking architectures, the data center does not exist in one place. A lot of the enterprises are moving to the edge.”

These edge data centres are literally located on the ‘edge’ of an organisations own network and in secondary locations from a main data centre, closer to the end user.

Edge data centres are intended to reduce latency and decrease network congestion. They are being used to take some of the strain off the central data centre as data can be aggregated at the edge and sent to the central data centre during non-peak times. This frees up the central data centre for vital data analysis while improving efficiency and latency for the end user.

Edge data centres are now more appealing than ever before as Internet of Things (IoT) is driving demand to the edge. To give this some perspective, IDC has recently published its ‘Worldwide Semi-annual Internet of Things Spending Guide’ and forecasts worldwide spending on IoT to grow 16.7% year over year in 2017, reaching just over $800 billion. By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion as organisations continue to invest in the hardware, software, services, and connectivity that enable IoT.

With the vast quantity of big data that IoT is creating, data centres need to analyse this data almost instantly and with minimal latency. Sending data to a secondary site allows for more efficient analysis to take place in the core data centre. Data can be aggregated in the edge and sent to the central data centre in non-peak times, which obviously decreases network congestion – even as more devices are connected.

With the growth of IoT devices and sensors, edge data centres are no longer on the periphery but at the heart of business intelligence.