Netflix, YouTube, Google and Facebook are just a few of the platforms where you may find yourself living on the edge. All these businesses use the newly emerging Edge data centers to push content more reliably to more customers.
What are Edge data centers?
The Edge data center (EDC) is the latest in networked computer servers and remote storage. But it’s a different breed to the more common tier-2 data center.
In simple terms, Edge data centers are physically closer to their end-users. This proximity allows them to deliver better service in an online world where the HD streaming content that users demand is increasingly challenging to achieve.
Thus, location is essential in defining a center as an EDC. It brings content closer to the end-user with a center that extends the internet’s edge, connecting at least 50 percent of all broadband users in a metropolitan area with 75 percent of their internet usage.
Do you need an EDC?
An EDC supplier gives more space to their primary customers so that they can access the data center’s full potential. This access is particularly useful to service providers looking for the best possible capacity and resilience. It also improves performance in areas where there is no high-speed internet connection.
Whether you need one depends on a couple of factors. For example, it matters how bandwidth-intensive your offering is, where your audience is based, and how crucial high reliability is to your business model. If your audience primarily resides in tier-1 metropolitan areas, you may not need to use Edge data centers. However, if you offer services to a geographically dispersed customer base, you might want to consider pushing that edge.
What are the benefits?
The potential benefits of using an EDC are still getting defined. However, the benefits should include better performance, increased reliability and lower costs.
Any bandwidth-intensive content can slow an entire local network. It’s not just streaming services but also medical imaging or intricate architectural and engineering drawings that cause slowdowns. Having an EDC closer to its users, instead of in a distant metropolitan location, removes that problem.
Another benefit is diminishing the effect of the failures that can cause an entire company to go offline. When organizations use a centralized data center, the impact of that center going offline can affect a whole global company. Distributing the centers means that any downtime is localized.
Equally, distributing backups across several centers results in higher reliability. Organizations can relocate virtual processes off a failing server to another server in a remote facility. Therefore, a bug in one device can be isolated and repaired without downtime to the whole company.
Although Edge data centers are still new, the future looks bright for larger organizations and end-users alike.