Witten By: Shrikant Navelkar, Director, Clover Infotech
Cloud computing has played an integral role in building of modern network architecture. With the advancement of emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), the amount of data collected at the source is growing exponentially. This has significantly raised the demand for computation of this data at the edge. Hence, edge computing is making inroads into organizations’ IT infrastructure.
With these innovations, there is a parallel evolvement in the data center environment. From on-premise data center to cloud to the new entrant edge; data centers are growing more sophisticated with each passing day to keep up with the dynamic business world. Hence, choosing a right data center solution is not as simple as it used to be. Now, a lot of factors such as infrastructure, location, efficiency, and reliability are taken into consideration while opting for a data center. Since, data center is critical to an organization’s performance and success, this decision needs to be taken with due diligence.
Let us begin by understanding the types of data centers:
- On-premise Data Centers – On-premise data centers, also known as enterprise data centers, are housed within a company’s site or campus. They can be modified and expanded as per the company’s needs. Also, they are easily accessible for general maintenance or troubleshooting. On-premise data centers reduce latency as they are stored within the company location, thereby ensuring higher level of data security. However, they are not a cost-efficient solution as they involve higher cost for maintenance, security, and regular repairs.
- Colocation Data Centers – Such centers allow multiple organisations to house their data centers within their premises at a cost. This is a cost-effective method of housing data centers as the companies need not worry about its maintenance, security, and repair.
Hyperscale Data Centers – Hyperscale data centers are large and can house thousands or millions of data center servers. These data centers are meant to be scaled, which can be done by increasing the power of the system or adding more data center racks and equipment. Companies with large amount of data benefit from the scalability of hyperscale data centers.
- Edge Data Centers – Edge data centers are smaller facilities located close to the edge of the end-user network. They typically connect to a larger central data center or multiple data centers. By processing data and services closer to the end-user, edge computing allows organizations to reduce latency and improve the customer experience. Such data centers are extremely beneficial for industries that need data processing in real-time such as autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, telecommunication, OTT platforms, and smart wearables.Advantages of Edge Data Centers:
- Minimizing Latency – The first and foremost benefit of putting data centers on the ‘edge’ is that it minimizes the time taken for transmission of data from the central cloud data center to the end-user device, thereby reducing latency. This makes for a more positive user experience that improves satisfaction for both internal and external users.
- Enhancing security and privacy – Edge data centers reduce the amount of data that has to travel over a network, thereby enhancing data security as data in transit is the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. Also, it reduces the risk involved as data is distributed across multiple smaller edge data centers than being stored entirely in a central data center. With edge data centers, end-user has more control over their data as less data is being uploaded to the cloud and major chunk is processed on the device itself.
- Increased Reliability – With edge data centers, enterprises can improve network reliability by distributing the business-critical data and workloads across a chain of smaller data centers, thereby reducing pressure on the central data center. This ensure that the central data center is not pushed past its maximum capacity. Also, if an edge data center fails, workload can be redistributed to other data centers in the network, thereby eliminating downtime.With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, OTT platforms, augmented and virtual reality, enterprises will increasingly invest in edge data centers to speed up applications’ performance and content delivery. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the global market for edge data centers will more than triple, from $4 billion in 2017 to $13.5 billion in 2024. Businesses globally and in India will delve into edge data centers to minimize operational costs and improve performance.