Future-proofing the network edge


27 February 2016
Network edge

Consider design flexibility, ensure visibility at the edge and implement resiliency at all levels – these are three strategies to help future-proof the network edge as more and more organisations seek to move their storage, networking and bandwidth closer to users.

Due to emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, organisations are increasingly moving their storage, networking and bandwidth closer to users or in edge facilities. These facilities, also known as “neighborhood” data centers, face unique challenges of efficiency, availability and resiliency as they receive, process, and store huge amounts of data.

The first strategy that organisations should adopt to better support their edge facilities is to consider design flexibility. This will enable them to go beyond deploying scaled facilities for accommodating growth within a specific location to include the rapid deployment of facilities in new locations. Standardised systems that combine power, thermal and IT management in a small footprint are ideal in these deployments, as these can be expanded as needed and rapidly deployed. These systems also simplify design and cut deployment costs.

Design flexibility is particularly vital considering Gartner’s prediction that by 2020, there will be 6.4 billion connected devices because of IoT and this could cause potential concerns regarding uptime and reliability in edge facilities.

The second strategy is to ensure visibility at the edge. This can similarly help organisations to save on cost amid the high expenses that come with managing several remote facilities where additional skilled manpower is required. Intelligent power distribution units and data center infrastructure management solutions enable centralised management of remote servers, allowing operators to proactively detect and identify potential risks and address them immediately. This will facilitate organisations in enabling real-time visibility of all IT networks, from core to the edge, which in turn ensures insight into the neighborhood data centre.

Thirdly, resiliency on all levels in the form of a reliable, fault-tolerant UPS is pivotal in today’s interconnected society whereby users expect applications to always be available. In the recent Ponemon Study on Data Center Downtime sponsored by Emerson Network Power, it was found that the cost of downtime has increased to US$8,851 per minute or an average of US$740,357, with UPS failure accounting as the number one cause of data center outage. With UPS, equipment will be protected against electrical disturbances thus avoiding application downtime.

Daniel Sim, director, channel business, Emerson Network Power in Asia, said with the exponential growth in digital consumption that is expected this year, there will be a spike in data that is being generated, collected and analysed. This will lead to a growing importance on neighborhood data centres, especially in the areas of retail and banking. “These facilities require critical infrastructure that is flexible, scalable and cost-effective to address new challenges at the edge,” he said.