What are edge data centres? How to implement them
Being able to process data and services as close to their populations as possible, edge data centres and edge computing allows for a reduced latency and better customer experience. Although these facilities are located away from centralised data centres, they do usually connect to larger or multiple other facilities.
Latency has always posed as a major problem for data centres and this problem has only escalated in recent years due to the introduction of technologies, IoT, big data and streaming services. In order to combat this issue and provide customers with functionality and content, edge data centres are being implemented worldwide in many different industries as a cost-effective and high-performance solution.
Key characteristics of edge data centres include:
- They are located within a close proximity to the areas they serve
- They are managed remotely
- They are much smaller than traditional data centres
- They are usually part of a complex network of facilities
- They house mission-critical data, services and applications for edge-based storage and processing
At the moment, about 10% of all data is created and processed outside of centralised data centres or the cloud. Gartner predicts that this figure will rise to 75% by 2025. Edge computing and data centres can be used and implemented in the following industries:
- Automation - autonomous vehicles
- Smart cities
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
There are a few different ways of implementing edge data centres depending on your organisation and what best suits your needs and demands. Below are a few options of how edge computing and solutions can be implemented.
Modular systems can be cost-effective, quick to design and implement and flexible. These facilities can be made to measure, making them completely specific to your organisation and your needs.
They are popular as they add capital value to an organisation, can be fitted into ‘dead spaces’ and can be maintained and operated onsite, giving organisations peace of mind.
Containerised data centres are normally only considered as temporary solutions, however they use the same equipment and infrastructure as traditional data centres and can help resolve space issues.
They can be packed into small spaces which can help on a low budget and on a tight time frame. The configuration can also perform very well in high-density applications.
Micro data centres (MDC) can be incredibly useful for organisations looking to use and implement the edge for specific application tasks where limited space may be an issue.
They can easily be placed into colocation sites while maintaining the physical security aspect that many organisations look for.
Meet Norway’s new Data Centre Industry association
The Norwegian data centre industry is growing rapidly, growing at a CAGR of 17% year-on-year since 2010. Last year, the market hit an approximate total installed capacity of 145 MW - a figure that a recent Impact Analysis report predicts will rise significantly in the next few years.
While contending with rapid demand growth, operators in Norway - as well as the rest of the Nordics - are also searching for new ways to engage with the communities they serve, as well as operate more sustainably, as the need for green practice becomes increasingly critical.
The Norwegian Government aims for the country to hit carbon-neutral as early as 2030 - well ahead of the targets set by the Paris Climate Accords. As significant consumers of electricity and water, data centre operators throughout the country are stepping up their sustainability initiatives accordingly, often going far beyond the steps taken by colocation firms in other markets.
This week, several leading players in Norway’s data centre industry, as well as the country’s leading power companies, Ringerikskraft and Statkraft, have come together to launch a new industry association focused on strengthening Norway’s position within the region as well as globally. So far, the Norwegian Data Centre Industry association comprises regional data centre leaders like Green Mountain, DigiPlex, Bulk Data Centers (who are scheduled to join in September), the Lefdal Mine Datacenter, and Basefarm.
In addition to driving increased investment in Norwegian IT infrastructure, the group also plans to coordinate and promote several sustainability projects being undertaken by its members. The association will offer international marketing and education to support these projects, as well as promote the sustainability benefits of hosting cloud and colocation services within the country - like the fact Norway has the highest proportion of renewable energy in Europe.
The group is being put together under the umbrella of ICT-Norway, the country’s largest special interest group representing its telecommunications and IT sectors. Liv Freihow, Policy Director at ICT-Norway, called the new association a “unifying, proactive and important player for the Norwegian data center industry.”
The association’s General Manager, Bjørn Rønning, added that “Norway has all the prerequisites to become an attractive country to invest in a computerised business sector. The Norwegian data centre industry has an untapped growth and value creation potential, set against a large and rapidly growing international market. The Norwegian Data Center Industry [association] will be a key player in ensuring good growth conditions and framework conditions for the industry.”
In addition to Freihow, the association's board members include Petter M. Tømmeraas (Basefarm), Gisle Eckhoff (Bulk, from September 1), Halvor Bjerke (DigiPlex), Tor Kristian Gyland (Green Mountain), Jørn Skaane (Lefdal Mine Datacenter), and Kathrine Langjord (Statkraft).