When you are buying a house, it can feel like each decision takes a lifetime. It involves investing a vast amount of money in a place that needs to fulfill your needs for a long time.
These are big asks in any circumstance - a huge commitment and you want to make the right choice. The same applies when choosing the location for a data center at the Edge. As we all know, a data center at the Edge is one that functions as close to the end user as possible, significantly reducing latency.
But is a somewhat limited view, according to Vertiv’s Vice President of Global Edge and Integrated Solutions, Martin Olsen. He suggests that we need to look at Edge computing differently.
“The best way to think of Edge is not to think of it necessarily as a physical location, or a product or a service, but just rather as an implementation strategy, because that is its essence. Just because there is a data center in a certain place doesn't necessarily make that either an Edge or a cloud data center. It is an implementation strategy that very much depends on the type of use cases that you have.”
In other words, an Edge location depends on your unique needs, just like your home.
Security. When it comes to moving house, the main thoughts in terms of security lie in ‘is it a nice area?’, ‘has it been burgled before?’ and what the crime rates are in the local area. Obviously, when it comes to Edge computing, we are more interested in data security.
“While Edge computing can improve your experience from a retail or healthcare standpoint, there's also the other side of that, which is data sovereignty and the security of that data to where it's a little scary sometimes. They know that I pass a CVS pharmacy, and it comes up on my phone and tells me that I am close to the pharmacy here and, here's a couple of offers. We are reaching a point where technology will know where you're going at all times.”
This increased personalization only reaffirms the necessity for strong security, to prevent such personal data from getting into the wrong hands.
In the same way that your real estate decisions will be vastly affected by how you use the home, how you intend to use your data center will dramatically change what it looks like, too.
“The implementation strategy called Edge manifests itself in a number of different ways that have been interesting to see, all the way from managing a fish farm, or open-pit mining with autonomous driving vehicles, dump trucks in Australia, down to what we'll see more of in the future with smart city infrastructure and a requirement for dense small-cell deployments on each street corner.
“It will take very different shapes, and as a function of that, it presents some obvious challenges.
“One of them is location, location, location. This is everything when it comes to Edge. We have to push further out which means that we don't necessarily have the luxury of saying we're going to build with the same cookie-cutter.
“The same standardized design for data centers is great for repeatability and shared learning, but when you want to train the operators on the systems it is simply not possible here. Because the Edge data center, like the cloud data center, is a product of its environment.”
Ultimately, no Edge data center will be the same, but chosen locations can be built bespoke for your company and its needs.