What role does the colocation provider play at the 'edge'?
Colocation edge providers
Carrier-neutral colocation facilities will play an incredibly important part in enabling edge strategies. They may not provide micro modular data centers on the factory or office floor, but they can provide what we call ‘near-edge’ services.
Near-edge services cater to the ‘zone’ where performance and security have been architected to securely process, analyse, store and forward larger amounts of data. They also help those doing edge deployments to connect to other applications and data sources, without going back to a centralised cloud service, enhancing the performance and service delivery.
Smaller data centers close to end users can be used as edge locations, or secondary locations for a customer. This is especially relevant for cloud service providers, which will have full data center capabilities in one facility and a smaller site close to the edge of the customer’s network.
Carrier-neutral colocation facilities also offer potential cost benefits over fully distributed edge environments, with one or more aggregation devices at an interconnect as opposed to hundreds or thousands or smaller devices for those enterprises wanting to do ‘edge’ on a less distributed scale. Savvy colocation providers are now tethering their sites, taking on a core and edge strategic approach with edge data centers being located in highly populated metropolitan areas and core facilities being in lower cost, less connectivity dense locations outside of the metro, so customers can take advantage of lower cost storage or analysis environments.
In time, we expect these near edge data centers will become the telecom gateways for the true edge data centers – the wireless towers, for eg, or IoT or telecom gateways, as congestion at the edge occurs. And they will also provide valuable backup options for times when the true edge goes down.
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