This blog is Part 1 of our blog series, “Data on the Edge.”

As data demand reaches critical mass, businesses of all sizes are rethinking their data and compute strategies. The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) into our daily lives is driving a profound change in the way computing workloads are deployed. Add to that the advent of 5G and the dramatic rise in mobile device usage, and it’s easy to see why many organizations are shifting their compute and data to the geographical edge of their enterprises where they can deploy as close as possible to end users and devices.

Our infrastructure today was designed to handle hundreds of gigabytes (GB), not terabytes (TB), as is expected in our near future. Add to that the renewed focus by companies to improve customer experience and protect their respective brand reputations, and it’s clear that the threats and opportunities of the “data avalanche” are real.

In a recent survey, approximately half of all responding businesses reported they’re using edge computing already, while the other half surveyed are planning to move to the edge within the next 12 months. For reasons ranging from improved performance and customer experience to heightened data security and cost-savings, the case is building for enterprises to deploy data on the edge sooner rather than later.

Here are the top four reasons your organization needs an edge strategy now:

  1. AI and IoT Everywhere

    The world of AI and IoT has arrived and with it a deluge of mobile devices to command all that connectivity. The number of IoT devices in use is expected to exceed 50 billion by the year 2020, which could generate over one trillion network packets per second, all destined to go someplace.

    While we don’t yet see IoT in everything we do, it’s seeping into our daily lives. Whether we’re using smart devices to watch remotely as packages are delivered to our doorsteps, manage the temperature in our homes or monitor our personal health and fitness, we’re still just in the nascency of an epic digital transformation. IoT will deliver services never before imagined in areas of agriculture, smart cities, autonomous vehicles and so much more.

  2. Advances in Gaming and Video Content

    In a recent survey, 92% of respondents cited video content delivery as the top driver of edge computing. With virtual reality and gaming advances on the rise and an imminent increase from 4K resolution video to a much higher 8K, it’s apparent we’ll have capacity issues. By processing game data closer to players (rather than sending it to distant data centers), providers can optimize video workflows, reduce transit costs and deliver a higher-quality, low-latency stream to viewers.

  3. The Emergence of 5G

    Mobile carriers are investing in 5G, which brings one hundred times the capacity of 4G to our mobile devices. With higher speed, low latency and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once, the amount of traffic at the edge will be exponentially higher than current infrastructure can support. Enterprises will need to make swift and measured decisions regarding which data will be processed and where.

    AT&T is already touting their 5G capabilities and Verizon is touting itself as "first to 5G,” with deployments currently underway in select markets. That said, it should be noted that the capital investment needed will likely be cost-prohibitive for many smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who don’t have the deep pockets and resources of an AT&T. These ISPs will need to make the business case internally for needed improvements (and funding) and, in many instances, await data on adoption rates before they can justify the investment.

  4. Cost Considerations

    There is a significant cost to moving thousands of terabytes of data over long distances. By processing data closer to end users, enterprises can reduce bandwidth usage and costs while ensuring that applications can be accessed efficiently and securely at remote locations. Successful movement to the edge requires smart, prompt decisions about which data needs to be processed at the edge, which data can be dropped and which data should be sent back to the core data center for analytics, archive and storage.

Today’s Decisions Will Drive Future Success

With reports that over 80% of traditional data center deployments will be shuttered by 2025 and their workloads moved closer to the edge, businesses need to make plans now about where to process their data, where edge comes into play and any potential need for fog computing.

Smart decisions made today can impact your business for years to come. But don’t go it alone. Seek qualified partners to help you create a working strategy—sooner rather than later.

Contact Flexential today for assistance in developing a working edge strategy. You can reach us online or at 888-552-FLEX.

This is Part 1 of our blog series “Data on the Edge.” Be sure to read Part 2, “7 Components of an Edge Strategy.”

Tim Parker

Vice President of Network Strategy
Tim Parker, Vice President of Network Strategy

Tim is the vice president of network strategy at Flexential, where he is responsible for guiding the company's interconnection ecosystem and developing network strategies and architectures for Flexential's HybridEdge Strategy. Tim has more than 25 years of experience in delivering high-performance customer service in the IT and Telecommunication sector.