As real-time data analysis becomes more crucial for business needs, the demand for edge data centers will see an upward tick.

With the world tapping digital innovation with real-time data, edge data centers are gaining in popularity.

So far, this rise in demand has been largely driven by the increasing demand for video streaming and Over-The-Top services; rising use of smartphones; increasing accessibility of the internet; and the focus on the development of smart cities and connected devices. 

With the need to overcome latency and speed issues, corporations are increasingly turning to edge data centers to meet higher consumer and enterprise expectations.

To gain an insider perspective of this trend, DigiconAsia interviewed Richa Babbar, Director–Edge & Ecosystem Development, Web Werks Data Center, India.

edge data centers

DigiconAsia: Compared to traditional data centers, edge data centers fill a niche area?

Richa Babbar (Richa): Yes, edge data centers are located closer to end-users, enabling a wide range of next-generation applications and providing customers with the benefit of lower latency, higher security, and greater control over their data.

Edge data centers are important when we consider the billions of things connected to the IoT, where the amount of data is so massive that it does not make sense to transfer all of it to big data centers or into the Cloud.

The key distinction of an edge data center is its location and connectivity. Typically positioned in growing markets, colocation ‘edge’ data centers allow organizations to deliver content and services to local users with minimal latency. Built for versatility and speed, edge data centers tend to be operated by colocation providers. For businesses trying to penetrate a local market or improve regional network performance, these facilities are incredibly valuable.

One of the preliminary business drivers for edge computing has been cost savings: both in bandwidth as well as in the ability to provide faster access to data at its source.

DigiconAsia: What kind of organisations will benefit more from edge data centers?

Richa: Edge computing helps address issues stemming from today’s ever-increasing amounts of data and the need to access this data in real time.

Processing data where it is created—at the edge—allows for more immediate application of analytics and AI capabilities. Customers’ expectations for compelling, immersive real-time interactions are addressed. When processing data at the edge, high-speed 5G networks combined with real-time insights have the potential to drive major innovations across industries like manufacturing, supply-chain, healthcare, transportation, autonomous vehicles, and field workers.

DigiconAsia: How are providers mitigating the vulnerabilities of edge data centers and ensuring security and availability 24×7?

Richa: Along the edge continuum, security practices are implemented differently.

The scale and diversity of physical locations of colocation ‘edge’ data centers mean the adoption of multiple layers of security, such as encryption and multi-factor authentication. Specific approaches are adopted to factor-in connectivity reliability, along with physical and network security challenges.

Edge data centers can differentiate themselves by offering a hyper-connected ecosystem and a multitude of network partners for a robust, resilient IT infrastructure for 24×7 availability and support.

DigiconAsia: How is the IT industry preparing for the growth in edge data center deployment this year?

Richa: As edge data center deployments continue to gain traction, 2022 will also see a wave of technology innovations across the infrastructure stack to address the increasing complexity of reliably scaling and orchestrating distributed infrastructure at the edge.

Edge data centers or edge interconnection will be more prevalent as edge locations experience high consumption; creation of data at an increasing rate will lead to decentralized computing.

In India, cities such as Pune, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kochi, and Jaipur, particularly, are also likely to witness the completion of edge data centers during 2021-2023, on the back of their ability to service-specific geographic zones.

DigiconAsia: Tell us about impact of mobile edge data centers.

Richa: Mobile edge computing has been cited in several emerging 5G use cases including autonomous vehicle functionality, AI and Machine Learning-enhanced industries including shipping and logistics, manufacturing, and heavy industry; Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in medicine, manufacturing, and other markets.

By 2022, 90% of industrial enterprises will be utilizing edge computing, with the multi-access edge computing market set to reach US$7.23bn by 2024.

The combination of 5G and the new mobile edge compute technologies is expected to meet market needs by then.