Data Centre Alliance (DCA): Does Edge Signal Disaster For Data Centres As We Know Them?

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 the revolution.

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, we 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?

panorama of a city at night time with icons superimposed to represent internet of things, connected devices, and the internet
CENTRE STAGE: Edge processing is predicted to dominate as we move into a 5G era

Why Is Edge On The Increase?

Our article identifies why edge computing is on the rise. Much of our 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 catastrophic.

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.

Leo Craig Riello UPS quote interconnected world relies on dependable power
LIFE AT THE EDGE: Real-time, low latency processing is a must in our data-driven world

What 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.

Our article concludes with a look at what the relationship between edge, cloud, and enterprise data centre might be.

Check out our full article about edge computing in Spring’s DCM magazine. Also, check us out in the special Data Centre World preview too!