Does the incredible rise of edge computing mean ‘death’ to
enterprise data centres and the cloud?
IT research giant Gartner believes that in five years’
time, 75% of data will be generated at ‘the edge’. Considering that just 10% is
currently created outside an enterprise data centre or the cloud, it’s quite
Society is increasingly reliant on connectivity and
‘Internet of Things’ devices. Of course, the impending rollout of superfast 5G
over the next couple of years will exacerbate this trend.
For the latest Data Centre Alliance (DCA) expert panel in
the Spring edition of Data Centre Management (DCM) magazine, they investigate
what the impact of this shift will have on storage and processing.
According to some, notably Gartner’s Dave Cappuccio, the
enterprise data centre as we know it will be dead by 2025. But is it time to
write the obituaries just yet?
Edge On The Increase?
The article identifies why edge computing is on the rise.
Much of the IoT-driven world depends on real-time processing. Even millisecond
delays are undesirable. Sending information from sensors to a centralised data
centre or cloud, processing it, then having to send it all the way back simply
isn’t good enough.
In factories, offices, hospitals, and more, AI and
automation take on a more influential role. Depending on data connections miles
apart is likely to result in bottlenecks and delays. The consequences could be
On the other hand, edge brings processing as close to the
point where the data is created in the first place. This reduces expensive
bandwidth and guarantees low latency processing. Edge computing also means more
data can be stored locally. Less time-sensitive information can still be sent
to centralised server rooms though.
Are Edge Data Centres?
Installing ‘local’ data centres at an office, factory, or
business park, for example, means a different type of facility. Obviously, it’s
not feasible – or cost-effective – to build a hyperscale from scratch.
This means a focus on more flexible micro or modular data
centres. These pre-built, containerised solutions include everything you’ll
find in a standard facility. Uninterruptible power supplies,19-inch cabinets,
PDUs, air conditioning, DCIM software etc. But all this equipment in condensed
into a smaller footprint.
By their nature, many edge data centres are installed in
unusual environments where space is at a premium. Think a car park, spare
office, or even on the roof of a building.
Modular UPS are the ideal option for the edge, because of
the restricted space and the lower power requirements than an enterprise data
centre. Units such as the Multi Power (MPW) deliver high power density in a
compact footprint. Scalability is easy by adding in extra power modules when
required. Other benefits include disruption-free maintenance, exceptional
energy efficiency, and reduced air conditioning.