Efficiency and resiliency at Edge Data Centers
Every industry, from healthcare to finance to retail can benefit from putting computing power closer to the people and hardware that need it. Computing power that is located closer to where it is needed or generated by users runs faster and more efficiently. That is not delivered by the cloud - it’s delivered by non-traditional physical data center locations in cities and neighborhoods around the country.
“As the volume and velocity of data increases, so too does the inefficiency of streaming all this information to a cloud or data center for processing,” Santhosh Rao, principal research analyst at Gartner, told Data Center Knowledge. “Currently, around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud,” says Rao. “By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 50%.”
The future is a lot more distributed: the Internet of Things is growing and the rise of AR/VR and AI incorporated in our daily lives will exponentially increase the amount of data generated and demanded all over the world.
Challenges and opportunities in going to the edge
But the data center sector has has not fully incorporated edge data center management yet, because building out edge data centers requires looking at data processing a little differently. How things were done in the past simply is not how they need to be done in the future, and this is true beyond just the physical limitations of building out an edge data center.
While edge facilities are smaller and generally have limitations on power that need to be worked around, they also require different storage, airflow management, and power management solutions. Increased integration of those systems helps too, to reduce the footprint of an individual rack. Rethinking how to design and spec out a data center is a challenge, but is also a huge opportunity to leverage a new approach to data center architecture that can positively impact your business.
Retail is one industry that has found modular cabinets and containment solutions critical to pushing data processing to the edge. When store employees and shoppers are using handheld devices to immediately access or update inventory, putting a standard data processing location nearby lets that data move faster without requiring months for specifications, planning, installation and implementation.
Hospitals are another example: they require significant local processing power and often need dedicated bandwidth for huge files, as from an MRI, but have very little square footage available to spare for servers. A highly resilient, functional edge data center can deliver the kind of local processing performance that’s required in that environment, and a prefabricated cabinet and containment system can provide all of that, yet be designed to fit in wherever the hospital may have available space.
Modular cabinets and containment solutions are the answer
Modular airflow management systems and containment equipment are huge tool in edge data center build outs, and will only be more critical in the future. Gartner estimates that ongoing power costs are increasing at least 10 percent per year due to cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) increases in underlying demand. There is no better way to reduce costs than to leverage cabinet and containment hardware that is better integrated and built around maximizing the efficiency of heating, cooling, and power systems.
Building out and launching edge data centers also happens on a shorter timeline and more frequently then build outs for traditional data centers. Moving faster and at a smaller scale, however, does not mean sacrificing quality and reliability. This is another case in which modular cabinet and containment solutions really shine.
All modular cabinet and containment solutions provide the same level of security as custom designs, but they are flexible enough to accommodate non-traditional footprints and can be configured to fit any environment. They are also easy to scale as demand grows, both at one site or across new sites as needed with repeatable installation processes and training requirements.
Edge data centers are not a fad, they will become increasingly critical to how data is processed. The good news is anyone looking to push their organization’s data center operations to the edge can leverage a growing number of resources to increase data processing speed as well as efficiency without sacrificing resiliency.
At Legrand, we’ve put together some resources for leveraging integration to succeed at the edge, and more, to help you get started. Check them out here: https://www.legrand.us/edge.aspx