Top 5 challenges in building and connecting edge data centres

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Data explosion continues…

The global data traffic is on surge amidst increased usage of applications like video conferencing, video gaming and streaming – all this to flatten the curve of COVID19.

Moving ahead, as the transformations towards advanced technologies like 5G and IoT take place, the data traffic is expected to grow in the years to come. Global mobile data traffic is forecast to increase to 160 exabytes per month in 2025.[1]

Edge data centres come to rescue as they are capable of analysing and processing data (on-demand and with the lowest latency rate possible) near the location where it is generated instead of being processed in a more distant and centralized data centre.

Owing to an exponential rise in data traffic, CSPs’ investments in edge data centres across the globe have considerably increased. Vendors are focusing on the development of new edge computing platforms to help enterprises improve their data management capabilities at the edge of the network. These combined factors are fuelling the growth of the global edge data centres market.  The market is poised to grow by USD 5.90 billion during 2020-2024.[2]

It will not be wrong to say that edge data centres are being witnessed as self-contained, stand-alone rack-level systems at the edge—as the means to gain a competitive advantage.

Edge data centres require the same resiliency as cloud or centralised data centres do. But they lack two important aspects – absence of skilled and trained onsite staff and multiple, distributed sites. This could lead to some unique challenges that require data centre developers to think holistically and collaboratively while deploying IT solutions.

Top 5 challenges in connecting to edge data centres

  1. Cost matters – Edge data centres require configuration, deployment, and maintenance of edge computing framework, which is quite expensive. Many of the older version devices lack processing capabilities, and integration of newer additional devices leads to extra CapEx.
  2. Loss of critical data is detrimental – As edge computing processing utilises a subset of data, a whole lot of raw data goes unutilised. This wasted data, otherwise, could have been insightful. There is a daunting challenge for enterprises for data segregation so as to improve efficiency and eliminate data loss.
  3. Physical security is must – As edge data centres are located near people, there is much requirement for a profound physical security solution so that any unwanted security breaches could be avoided.
  4. O&M needs to be strategic – Operating and maintaining multiple edge data centres remotely comes along with unique challenges like IT troubleshooting, performing system and security upgrades, standardising maintenance services across multiple locations.
  5. Right selection and configuration of infrastructure components –Selecting and configuring right infrastructure components can be quite a complex task. Slightest of error, if not identified at an early stage, could propagate to numerous installations. This could lead to undersized or oversized UPS and insufficient or spare rack space.

Edge data centre developers need an ecosystem of partners who could work together to mitigate these challenges and build data centres that include right set of IT, infrastructure, and management tools.


[1] https://www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report/reports/november-2019/mobile-data-traffic-outlook


[2] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200225005811/en/Edge-Data-Center-Market-2020-2024Increase-Mobile-Data

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