As more computing moves to the edge, data will be processed in place. By 2023, Gartner projects more than half of enterprise data will be created and processed "outside the data center or cloud." That's up from less than 10% this year.
ACM/IEEE definition*: Edge Computing is a new computing paradigm where server resources, ranging from a credit card size computer to a small data center, are placed closer to data and information generation sources. Application and systems developers use these resources to enable a new class of latency and bandwidth sensitive applications that are not realizable with current cloud computing architectures. Edge computing represents a counterpoint to the consolidation of computing into massive data centers, which has dominated the discourse in cloud computing for well over a decade. Popular terms such as micro-data centers, intelligent edges, cloudlets, and fog have been used interchangeably to describe edge computing.
Shift from Data Center to Edge Computing
There is a clear consensus among Information Technology Research Analysts that one of the main areas of focus for Enterprise IT in the next few years is shifting from the Data Center to Edge Computing. The continued growth of data and the percentage of that growth that will come from sensors and devices (Internet of Things or IoT) will create use cases that require edge computing solutions. The capabilities of new wireless network transport such as 5G and Wi-Fi6 will enable the new use cases.
The key architectural and topology issue that helps create this new need is the basic Enterprise Network model. Enterprises connect their Data Centers to the Internet and the outlying offices, factories, and warehouses have typically transported data to the Internet via the centralized Data Centers. Of course, companies could connect the outlying facilities directly to the Internet, but they would still need a level of processing and storage at the edge (not to mention security, identity, etc.).
Creating Edge Computing capabilities will have unique challenges. First, the devices will need to be rugged as they will operate in conditions much harsher than a data center. Second, the devices and systems will need to be self-healing and light-touch on IT operational resources (for backup, data protection, maintenance, etc.) since typically IT resources are not stationed at the edge locations.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
You are not alone in your journey to the edge. Expertise is at your fingertips with partners such as Solutions II. Our first goal is to educate – show you what we see coming in the world of IT. Our second goal is to understand what your business goals are and create solutions that help to decrease your technical debt, setting you up for success today AND tomorrow. For more information on Solutions II’s framework for IT change, check out our Adaptable Data Center®.