Edge Evolution: The Next Chapter in Edge Colocation

Virtual Roundtable Recap


Every good story tackles the same set of elements: who, what, when, where, why and how. The chronicles of edge data centers have had some intriguing developments, including these basic elements — who is deploying edge facilities, when it began, where the edge is being deployed and so forth. However, the narrative of this story at the edge is evolving. 

In a recent virtual roundtable titled Edge Data Centers: Critical Low Latency Solutions for Big Cities, hosted by our friends at Jaymie Scotto & Associates, a group of industry experts explored what the immediate and long-term future of edge colocation may look like as we continue to turn the page on the edge story. Our very own Jason Bourg, Vice President of Sales, joined the expert panel to offer insights on how the edge story will continue to unfold and affect enterprises, carriers and everyone with a vested interest in edge evolution. 


Who Can Benefit from Edge Colocation?

A highly discussed topic within the edge data center industry as of late has been who can benefit from the edge now. Guest moderator Fedor Smith, President & Managing Partner for ATLANTIC-ACM, kicked off the panel discussion by noting that the edge will empower applications like Internet of Things devices, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), 5G devices and other technologies that haven’t reached their full potential. His question for the panel was who stands to benefit most from the edge now and in the immediate future. 

The panel of leading experts in the edge colocation field has observed the medical field particularly benefitting from the edge as they begin to use more AR/VR devices. Panelists also noted how the edge is enabling a more efficient use of security-based applications for enterprises. Instead of sending data back and forth between remote cloud operations, which requires data to travel longer distances, security data can travel a shorter distance to edge facilities located closer to the business. 

Bourg says not only has the customer-base started to shift, but the way they reach customers has started to evolve. In the early days of the company’s inception, content providers and cloud providers were the core tenants. They continue to be a big part of the tenant base, but integration partners, such as Ingram and Avnet, are now driving deployment. 

“Our partners are the ones providing 5G services and platforms for their end-user customers,” explains Bourg. “We’re getting a lot of traction through our integration partners, who are providing hybrid solutions to end-user clients. They’re offering things like private cloud, public cloud, dedicated cloud, analytics and IoT as a service.” 


What is the True Definition of the Edge? 

As the story of edge colocation continues to evolve, so too does the definition of the edge. EdgeMicro has often defined the edge as being in underserved areas outside of the major data center hubs, which led us to deploying our initial set of edge sites in markets like Austin, Raleigh and Tampa. However, Bourg detailed how a growing amount of business comes from clients who want the edge built to their specifications because they don’t want the capacity restraints that can come with traditional colocation. 

“We’re building custom footprints for a few clients outside of a typical ‘edge’ market,” says Bourg. “Our customers want to take back control of their deployments versus going into a traditional brick and mortar building with an older colocation provider. We coined the Edge Anywhere phrase because we don’t really define ‘what is edge?’ It’s where our clients want it deployed.”


How Can the Edge Continue to Expand?

The panelists agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for more bandwidth and colocation services — but meeting those needs is not without its challenges. Building out new sites comes with the typical hurdles, such as obtaining the proper licenses and construction timelines. Still, Bourg says enterprises and customers who prioritize colocation needs and work with the experts have been the most successful at meeting demand. EdgeMicro has worked with a growing number of customers to build facilities to suit their needs. Even though EdgeMicro takes on the responsibility of maintaining operations, the enterprise customer maintains full flexibility to treat the deployment as an owned asset, giving them the ability to meet current and future bandwidth demands. 

The panel closed with each participant making a prediction for the future of edge colocation. Interested to know what they foretold? Check out the full virtual roundtable to learn why all panelists agreed that building for a more sustainable future will become even more critical in the next chapter of edge colocation, and why Bourg says the edge will be good for consumers and commerce in general. 

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