Will an EDC boost your business?
Netflix, YouTube, Google and Facebook are just a few of the platforms where you may find yourself living on the edge. All these businesses use ‘edge’ data centers to push content more reliably to more customers.
What is an edge data center?
The edge data center (EDC) is the latest in networked computer servers and remote storage, but it’s a different breed to the more common tier-2 data center.
In simple terms, EDCs are physically closer to their end users, delivering better service in an online world where the kind of content users demand (like hi-definition streaming video and other content benefiting from low latency) is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver with tier-2 data center capabilities.
Thus, location is important in defining a data center as an EDC, as it extends the internet’s ‘edge, bringing content closer to the end user. Typically, an EDC should connect at least 50 percent of all broadband users in a metropolitan area with 75 per cent of their internet usage.
Do you need an EDC?
The aim of an EDC provider is to give their key customers more space, so that they can have access to the data center’s full potential. This is particularly useful to service providers looking for the best possible capacity, resilience and performance in areas where there is no high-speed internet connection.
Whether you need one depends on a couple of factors, such as how bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive your offering is, where your audience is based, and how important high reliability is to your business model. If your audience is primarily based in tier-1 metropolitan areas, you may not need an EDC. However, if you’re offering services like video streaming to a geographically dispersed customer base, you might want to consider pushing to the edge.
What are the benefits?
The potential benefits of using an EDC are still emerging but typically include improved performance, increased reliability and lower costs.
Any content that is bandwidth-intensive – not just streaming services but also, for example, medical imaging or complex architectural and engineering drawings – can slow an entire local network. Having an EDC closer to its users, instead of being located in a distant metropolitan location, removes that problem.
Another benefit is diminishing the effect of the failures that can cause an entire company to go offline. When organizations use a centralized data center, the impact of that center going offline can affect an entire global company – distributing the centers means that any downtime is localized.
Equally, distributing backups across several centers results in greater reliability. Organizations can relocate virtual processes off a failing server to another server in a remote facility, so that a bug in one device can be isolated and repaired without downtime to the whole company.
Although EDCs are still new, the future on the edge looks bright for larger organizations and end-users alike.