In this edition of Voices of the Industry, Phillip Marangella, CMO of EdgeConnex, explores how the Edge is everywhere and flexible solutions can support anything from hyperlocal to hyperscale data centers.
For some people, the Edge is defined as being located in either a Tier 2 or Tier 3 market, or it’s classified as being a small or micro data center. But, in fact, the Edge can really be a data center of any size, located everywhere and anywhere businesses and communities need to be connected to the wider world of communications, content, and cloud-based services. The trick is meeting demand and delivering capacity and connectivity where that demand is reaching critical mass and being able to provide customers a flexible continuum of capacity solutions that can span from hyperlocal to hyperscale data centers.
So, how do we identify underserved markets that are outgrowing their current infrastructure so we can deliver just-in-time solutions that facilitate growth and empower businesses so we can help them contend with the volumes, variety, and velocity of today’s data? We have to start by listening.
There is a temptation to view growth like a road trip, speculatively building data centers at certain points on the map in anticipation of future needs that may or may not materialize, over-building in some areas while neglecting others that might have proven, immediate needs.
But, if we listen carefully, we find that service providers know their markets and they know their own customers, and they can tell us a lot about the optimal timing for introducing services into a new market responsibly. And to a large extent, the goal of a data center solution provider is to help our service provider customers connect with and service their end users. The data center is the enabler, and its location and scale are driven not by dots on a map but by customer demand.
Let’s look at three emerging markets that are seeing a new boost in demand and some recent deployments of new infrastructure in historically underserved communities.
- Santiago, Chile boasts a metropolitan population of over 7 million people and a fast-growing economy with a higher-than-average per-capita GDP and a financial district commonly called ‘Sanhattan’. But it’s not just business based in Chile that drives demand. Santiago is a global city with Cloud Service Providers (CSP) and network services eager to reach a growing market of sophisticated users demanding faster access to content, cloud, and as-a-service applications for consumers and business.
- Barcelona, Spain is not typically mentioned in the same breath as the FLAP markets of Europe – Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Paris – or even its in-country neighbor Madrid, but it makes a strong case as an important Edge node, both for its strength as a major economic hub and for its position as a gateway to markets in the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and North Africa. Here, too, growing user demand drives capacity and connectivity needs at the Edge, and global service providers see Barcelona as a destination that gives them greater opportunities to expand their services to an important hub in a unique location.
- Miami, Florida is among the southern-most cities in the U.S. and home to a diverse population, a growing technology, banking, and business hub, and a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean to the South, and Iberia and the rest of the Europe to the East. And it anchors a nearly 75-mile metropolis along the Atlantic coast with a combined population of over 6 million people.
- Portland, Oregon and the nearby Hillsboro area has established itself as a magnet for the digital economy, situated between Seattle and Silicon Valley, along the Columbia River, and near the Pacific coast where it is able to support landing station services for undersea cables connecting Asia to North America., Portland has become a critical junction point for cloud, networks, data center capacity, and for emerging technologies. And as a result, Portland is a key Edge market, regionally, nationally, and globally.
- Chennai, India is home to nearly 8 million people and to booming software, technology, hardware manufacturing, healthcare, film, and finance industries. It’s also a key gateway to the rest of Asia connected by submarine cables. With nearly half of the country’s data center infrastructure deployed in Mumbai, Chennai has long been underserved by data center providers and under-appreciated as an Edge market in today’s global economy. Sometimes referred to as “the Detroit of India”, Chennai is a large metropolitan area, and data center customers are beginning to demand access and capacity to bring new services into this market and help the region’s businesses access markets worldwide.
The message here, though, is not that these seemingly unrelated markets are good candidates for Edge data center capacity simply based on abstract economic or demographic data. The key is that they are great markets because customers, both incumbents in those markets and global service providers eager to serve them, tell us they need infrastructure so they can deliver the highest level of user experience and realize their business goals as they continue to take steps toward digital transformation. They need faster, more reliable, more secure methods of connecting to their own customers in these cities and metro areas, and they can’t wait 18, 24, or 36 months for the infrastructure to be in place. They are agile, and they need their data center providers to be agile, as well.
Every year, the impact of Cloud services, global content consumption, and network connectivity continue to grow and combine to extend the importance of the Edge. But additional Edge demand is seen in deployments of IoT, machine learning, connected cars, AI, and gaming, particularly as they are deployed and embraced in new markets worldwide.
In some cases, markets that looked on paper like they would be triggering phenomenal growth and demand have been superseded by markets that experts and statistics missed, as technology adoption, social changes, and business expansion tips the scales in new directions. And every year, customers in these markets, or looking to enter them, are in a perfect position to know the value of their communities. So, if we listen to those customers, work with them, collaborate with them, it becomes much easier to identify and serve the markets that push the Edge closer to true ubiquity.
The Edge is everywhere. Intelligent planning, coupled with listening and engagement, is what helps bring the resources of the Edge to businesses and services that need them most, because, as important as the major service providers are, at its core the Edge is all about the end-user experience. As our recent e-book on the benefits of a Hybrid Multi-Cloud Strategy at the Edge illustrates, customers of the major service providers are concerned about cost, performance, security, and cloud expertise when planning any cloud migrations. Used smartly, the Edge lowers costs, enhances security, improves performance, and offers managed services that can speed up and simplify cloud adoption.
The Edge is defined by those customers, and that’s why the Edge is everywhere. And market by market, the infrastructure is delivering Edge capabilities around the world from hyperlocal to hyperscale.