Maybe you’ve heard phrases such as, “Edge computing is the future,” or “Data is moving to the edge,” and wondered why. This growing emphasis on edge computing is due to a combination of factors involving the way people live, work and use the internet. Let’s look at three of the top drivers of edge computing today.
1. The surge in IoT and mobile applications calls for low-latency processing.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become an increasingly significant part of our everyday lives, with everything from thermostats to refrigerators going smart. In 2022, consumer spending on smart home products and services across the globe is expected to reach $134 billion!
Smart home products and other IoT devices all require an internet connection. Likewise, people generally rely on a variety of mobile applications for everyday tasks and activities.
The surge in internet-connected devices doesn’t just mean greater computing demands—it also calls for greater speed. Mobile and IoT applications used at the edge demand high-performance, minimal-latency solutions for data processing. Consider, for example, a smart security system that allows a person to unlock their front door with an app on their phone. When they hit the unlock button, they don’t want to wait for a slow connection. The door should unlock instantly.
In addition to speed, edge computing can empower IoT through security and cost efficiency. Keeping data local through edge data centers rather than in centralized public clouds can help companies achieve more control over data processing at the edge.
Learn more about the rise of the IoT in “What Colocation Trends to Watch for in 2022.”
2. An increasingly decentralized workforce is taking demand to the edge.
Migration patterns in the U.S. are also driving edge computing. These patterns are largely due to the pandemic, which caused a rise in remote work. Gallup research shows that many companies plan to stay fully or partially remote long term. With no tie to a physical downtown office, many people have chosen to move out of population centers to suburbs or rural areas. These remote workers need quality connections to cloud-based business applications and storage right where they are located.
This migration trend should give data center owners pause before they automatically build in a well-established data center market. For example, the San Francisco Bay Area has historically been a big data center hub as well as a major population center, but from March 2020 to February 2021, the rate of permanent moves out of this area was up by more than 23 percent.
Some previously overlooked markets are now emerging as attractive locations for new data centers because of their position at the edge, along with other factors such as real estate costs and tax incentives. Overall, placing servers closer to end users can provide a better cloud connection for the critical functions needed to support a distributed workforce.
3. Rising bandwidth demands require compute capabilities closer to the data source.
The traditional approach to cloud computing is limited by its centralized processing model. This approach can’t support the rising demands for more bandwidth. As data generation increases, it calls for a different approach that moves computing closer to the data source, rather than moving it through a large, centralized data pipe. Edge computing eliminates the need to transfer data to a centralized cloud for storage and processing.
Along with the sheer volume of data increasing, technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality further add to the demand, since they’re bandwidth-heavy and require minimal latency. Edge computing bridges the gap and helps meet bandwidth requirements.
The need for more data centers is persisting, and it’s well worth considering what form those data centers should take. Edge data centers can play a crucial role in meeting computing needs wherever they exist in locations across the country, and across the globe.
Meet the demand for edge computing with modular data centers.
Whether you’re an enterprise that needs to meet your own computing needs, or you’re a colocation or cloud service provider that needs to provide for external demands, modular data centers are a valuable solution to consider. Modular data centers can empower the future of edge computing with their efficient operation, fast deployment and other unique advantages.