The Competitive Edge of Enterprise Edge

June 21, 2024
Brett Lindsey, CEO ark data centers, explains why edge data centers will become increasingly vital, making them the cornerstone of digital transformation strategies for enterprises looking for not only a competitive advantage but ultimate control over their digital future.

“Competition is the fuel that ignites innovation.”– Simon Sinek

Enterprises across all industries are feeling pressure. Amid the AI surge, organizations looking to gain a marketplace advantage are being forced to adapt and adjust quickly to a changing but uncertain landscape that simultaneously presents tremendous opportunities and challenges. With the ability to process data at lightning-quick speed, the demand for edge proximity across nearly every vertical is flooding, making the edge data center of the future a rapid reality.

Propelling a profound shift in the digital landscape, the edge computing market is poised to surge from $60 billion in 2024 to a staggering $111 billion by 2029, with a CAGR of 13%. This exponential growth is not just a result of technological advancements but a testament to how a more distributed model is revolutionizing the way we enterprises and hyperscalers operate. Edge data centers will no longer be 2MW or less. Mega-edge data centers are on the rise, and the next generation of scalable edge infrastructure is being realized. These next-gen edge data centers are not only strategically located but leverage mixed-use components that are adaptable and reshaping the digital landscape to better serve evolving enterprise and hyperscale needs.

According to research firm Gartner, approximately 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2025, the firm predicts that this figure will reach 75%. As AI’s trajectory expands, enterprises across multiple industries, especially healthcare, manufacturing and financial services, will require additional, real-time insights to drive operational efficiencies and improve customer experiences.

Edge is no longer a trend but a necessity for enterprises striving to meet the demands of modern computing and connectivity needs. Edge data centers’ proximity to end users and low latency capabilities are game-changers and a key factor for applications that demand real-time data processing and responses. In the realm of AI applications, edge data centers are the catalyst for faster decision-making, a critical element in scenarios like instant user feedback and autonomous driving, where latency issues can be not only costly but potentially life-threatening.

In addition, with the surge in IoT device adoption, particularly in the healthcare and manufacturing industries, the amount of data generated is enormous. IDC reports that the world's data is expected to grow 61 percent to 175 zettabytes by 2025, making the need to process data closer to the source paramount to enabling faster compute for quicker response times and communication. Edge data centers can provide enhanced processing capabilities for large amounts of data. At the edge, data is processed and filtered before sending relevant information to centralized data centers or the cloud, reducing the load on central systems and ensuring quicker insights and actions.

The scalability and adaptability of today's edge data centers also give enterprises a competitive edge. For example, distributed and mobile applications are becoming increasingly common. Applications, such as remote healthcare services, that rely on the ability to process data close to where it is generated can now roll out capabilities incrementally, ensuring they can keep pace with demand and advancements. Additionally, this flexibility allows enterprises to react to real-time analytics, improving customer experiences and longevity.

While more complicated but more secure, the edge data center of the future is more resilient because it has more edge servers distributed across various spots. This increases resilience but also poses a challenge to secure multiple locations instead of one. There’s still work to do, but when it comes to security and processing large amounts of data, there is no universal approach. Software and automation will play an integral role in securing the edge and there will be more dependency on interoperability between other sites to ensure resiliency and protect from security breaches or system failures.

Edge data centers are not just crucial; they are the key for enterprises aiming to harness the full potential of AI, in addition to staking their claim as leaders within their respective industries. Offering unparalleled speed, scalability and security in workload processing, the edge data centers of the future are here. As digital capabilities continue to evolve, demanding more data and faster compute, the role of edge data centers will become increasingly vital, making them the cornerstone of digital transformation strategies for enterprises looking for not only a competitive advantage but ultimate control over their digital future.

About the Author

Brett Lindsey

Brett Lindsey is the Chief Executive Officer of ark data centers (formerly Involta), a Carlyle portfolio company and prominent national provider of data center, cloud and connectivity infrastructure and services. He has navigated the dynamic landscape of the telecommunications industry for three decades, demonstrating consistent growth, measurable outcomes and significant financial performance. Lindsey joins ark data centers after serving as the CEO of Everstream for eight years. He propelled Everstream’s growth from a Cleveland-only fiber network to a leading provider with a 10-state presence serving enterprise and hyperscale clients – solidifying the company’s role as a key player in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic fiber network industry. In previous telecommunications infrastructure roles, Lindsey has demonstrated entrepreneurial prowess, operational excellence and a commitment to community through multiple acquisitions and exits, federal grant awards and metro fiber expansions.

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