Where is the Edge and When are we Going to Build It?

People are funny. It seems that everyone today needs to have change in their lives.

It wasn’t long after the entire world got onboard with the idea of consolidating IT systems that people started talking about the need to decentralize again. Thousands of on premise data centers vaporized during the decade following the great recession. Today, hardly a day goes by without someone evangelizing the need to push processing and analytics out to the “edge” for IoT, content distribution, AI, autonomous vehicles, drones, and more.

It seems we just can’t be happy leaving things alone.

Industry news is overloaded today with articles on the subject of distributed computing, but no one can specify precisely when and where the edge will materialize. There are some who describe the edge as the enormous wholesale facilities in the big football cities. Others believe that distributed infrastructure in second and third tier cities constitute the edge. Not to be outdone, firms are popping up all over promoting the need to deploy satellite colocation sites at the foot of thousands of wireless towers.

So where exactly is the edge? It really depends on the application. Over time, information technology will be located precisely where it needs to be. The driving force will be performance. If a centralized location leads to excessive latency and user unhappiness, then data and processing will have to be distributed. Because the speed of light is fixed, in the foreseeable future we’ll likely see IT infrastructure scattered all over the place including in the cloud, in the fog, in the mist, and right in your hands. The so-called “edge” is not just one place. For every application, the edge will be different.

Given this fact, we should not condition ourselves to automatically resist the temptation to place IT infrastructure on premise. Our ultimate goal should be to centralize the things that can be centralized efficiently, securely and cost effectively, without degrading performance. At the same time, we should be prepared to decentralize systems that can maximize their benefit-to-cost ratio when connected in a distributed fashion. Software today provides a degree of information redundancy and operational resiliency that was once only possible with diesel generators.

In summary, there is no one edge that is suitable for every user and every application. Users should be prepared for a world of large centralized data centers, as well as constellations of satellite data centers spread across the universe.

Compu Dynamics can help your business, no matter how you define edge. We have experience providing infrastructure services, design and build services, as well as data center deployment, expansion, and consolidation for some of the world’s most demanding information technology clients. We specialize in delivering turnkey, energy efficient solutions designed to keep operations online and connected. Our infrastructure services include data center relocation, staffing, monitoring, migration, and more. We provide managed services and remote hands support. Please contact us for more information about how Compu Dynamics can help your business.

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