Predictably, pundits have declared 2018 to be the year of the edge data center. Edge is destined to be one of those marketing terms where its meaning will be defined and redefined to suit the commercial interests of sellers.
The use case for the Edge is often cited to be the growing Internet of Things (IoT) that continuously generate data and need that data processed. Self-driving cars have been recast as mobile data centers requiring massive investments in Edge computing to succeed. The coming wireless bandwidth improvements have spurred some to deploy Edge facilities co-located with cell towers.
The key premise of Edge computing is to locate processing closest to the point where data is generated. Think about that in terms of your typical corporate data center. Isn’t that on-premise, corporate data center already closest to the point where data is generated and consumed?
Doesn’t that on-premise data center already enjoy sub-millisecond latency and gigabit switched bandwidth to the user’s desktop?
To be sure, cloud marketing departments are quick to discount this compelling Edge use case because it contradicts the premise that workloads are better in the cloud. Yet, there it is. The Edge’s biggest use case already exists, doesn’t depend on future AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), or the coming wireless bandwidth improvements. On-premise computing is the Edge’s biggest, existing opportunity.
While Cloud computing continues to enjoy healthy growth, there are firms quietly migrating out of the cloud for a variety of legitimate reasons. They’ve learned the lessons of virtualization, efficiencies through software-defined networking, and increasing deployment of flash for database workloads. They’ve also re-learned an economic lesson about the cloud. Whether capital expense (CAPEX) or operating expense (OPEX), it’s still money and one of the agilities gained in Cloud is the agility to spend that money faster.
Just as Cloud computing washed over every facet of marketable compute product and service, Edge-washing is easy to predict and defining the Edge is well underway.
Just don’t forget about the Edge you already own – your on-premise data center. You need not wait for vendors to tell you how to optimize that resource with your lessons learned from Cloud computing.
Does your IT staff have little to no time to tackle that innovation?
You know what to do. Reach out before the disruption becomes a crisis.