For many years the content, compute, and storage existed at one end of a very long connection to the end user, who reside at the other end. As technologies have developed, the demand for access and speed to applications has met the physical and financial limitations of the existing data center, telecommunications, and cloud architectures. Newer applications driven by machine-to-machine communication have created a data deluge that promises to capsize traditional networks, unless a new paradigm can be found that provides lower latency and improved performance.
Enter the Micro Edge Data Center, which allows all participants in this ecosystem to both provide better service and decrease overall delivery costs, by pushing necessary storage and compute closer to the consumer, whether they be human or machine. The “edge” has been debated for years as either a geographical location or a process, but we propose that it is both and neither. The “edge” is an instance, which at that moment brings together user, data, processing, and interconnectivity at an exact location to create an experience and result. In essence, the “edge” is where data is both created and consumed. The “edge” can exist in a regional data center, at a cell tower, or in a business or home. The “edge” does not belong to any particular group, and yet we all contribute and will continue to develop this new paradigm.
By it’s definition, the “edge” is “smaller,” as compared to the large, legacy infrastructure of the previous decades. In previous years, data centers could exist in locations best suited for them and depended on the vast fiber networks to deliver service. In the age where billions of devices simultaneously operate, this is no longer sustainable. However, the “edge” is still inherently grounded in physical space. Therefore the “edge” must be able to adapt and fit into whatever physical space and utilize whatever power is available, at the precise location it is required to operate. In terms of a tower operator, it must exist within the constrained footprint of the tower or the available space in a commercial building that supports the antennae. As we reach further out, it must exist within self-contained cabinets on street corners or in the storage room of a nearby store or on the floor of a warehouse. Regardless of where the “edge” resides, it must be very small, micro, if you will.
In terms of “data center”, the definition must adapt to new form factors and locations, while still retaining the most critical elements of standardization, security, and service assurance. This will not be accomplished by human effort, like traditional data centers, but through de-centralized, autonomous systems that allow for customers to visualize and manage environments across hundreds (if not thousands) of sites.
The last defining aspect of the Micro Edge Data Center is that it must be ubiquitous and interconnected. As we see the advent of autonomous vehicles and IoT, the functions performed at one location must be instantaneously and flawlessly transferable to the succeeding, downstream/upstream location. And multiple locations will need to have access to, perform operations on, and communicate data with multiple instances.
We present to you the Micro Edge Data Center – polymorphic, automated, sustainable, everywhere, and completely inevitable.