IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Technical challenges of expanding edge networks closer to end-users

By Contributor
Tue 25 Sep 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A number of opinions surfaced about the technical challenges of tomorrow’s networks and data centers. 

Some of the questions included: what are the technical challenges of expanding edge networks closer to end-users; what and where is the edge; who are the end-users; is the edge really expanding; why does it want to be closer to users; what are those technical challenges and how are they being resolved?

The four principles of data centers

There are four key principals that drive design and urbanism which also seem to apply to various data center types.

The first is centralised versus decentralised power. Think of the powerful but centralised Roman Empire versus the smaller but rich and highly networked Greek Empire. Throughout history, it appears that mankind has continuously alternated between centralised and decentralised structures. 

The second principle is that if we think of data as power, then our first assumption with regards to data center design, past, present, and future evolution would be that, in any free market, we should also expect this constant swing between centralised and decentralised types.

The third principle is that mankind must progress. Humans are generally quite restless, especially if they are bored, and will often come up with productive things to do with their time during those lulls, such as create new art or invent new technologies. We must assume that we are somehow hard-wired in this way and so, therefore, it also seems safe to assume that this trend will continue ad infinitum.

The fourth principle is people need storage. People always seem to run out of storage space, whether it’s in their garden shed, on their computer’s hard drive, or in their walk-in closet. The answer to this quandary when applied to data centers probably lays somewhere around enhancing the speed of information and access to it.

The dawn of edge computing

Edge computing enables data produced by Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be processed closer to where the data is created, rather than in a data center. This enables data to be analysed in almost real time before it is sent to a data center. 

Also, because data is not having to travel across the network, latency is reduced, which is important for applications that require low latency to work effectively, or even as close as is humanly possible to zero latency, such as in financial services. 

Edge computing can also be set up so that only important data is sent across the network, while non-mission critical data can be correlated and sent at a certain interval, such as once a day, rather than the network constantly being overwhelmed with data.  In the end, the business requirement is the driving force behind technology.

A network around certain functions is one likely shape for the edge. Smart cities and smart grids come to mind, but it remains to be seen if citizens will be happy to go down the full automation route. It is possible that at some point people will say “enough!”. Political constraints in terms of new regulations might also present challenges at the edge. 

Form tends to follow function so perhaps one challenge with the edge will be to start with the right business or design brief, try identifying what is the nature of the data and what its functional requirement is so that it can be warehoused or dealt with appropriately. Different types of data and their functional requirement will likely call for different data center shapes and location. 

Robot operated data centers? 

The number one threat to safety in many events is people, according to security experts we have engaged with on real projects. So, in some cases, perhaps it would be prudent for people to never enter data centers, which would create the need for a new type of data center, manned by robots.

There are also technical challenges, such as security, controlling how people access and service the network in an environment where you want to control and minimise hacking risks. 

Customers that are willing to pay a premium not to move to co-location facilities and the cloud include law enforcement, defence, universities, banks, hospitals, and large multinationals.

Customer service models will likely evolve ahead of technology, and some of those successful business cases will likely drive newer technology that will shape the physical world around them, including the different looks the edge may take.

Other technical challenges to moving the edge closer to end-users include planning requirements, availability of land and power, weighing risks vs benefits, education, and looking at problems objectively rather than emotionally.

A new needs-based data center design

One size does not always fit all. Different types of data centers are starting to emerge on the edge for various reasons, including access to data, or control, or any other requirements identified in an end user's business case, such as the need for low or zero latency in certain applications. 

In the not so distant future, it is highly probable that customers will choose to host with multiple data center providers, or types, simultaneously. One could imagine signing up with separate providers for processing versus storage. Paying a premium to keep a share of your data off the grid and safe, for example, makes sense. So, if the offering is right, the cost is not the only driver. 

Performance and the level of service required by the different end-user business cases can be as important as cost, if not more so, in driving what the edge is going to look like. Each bespoke edge solution is going to generate its own set of technical challenges, but we are confident in people and in the fact that technology has always managed to catch up to the service of mankind over time. 

Article by Charles Fortin, Managing Director, Collard Maxwell Architects

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Story image
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.
Story image
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps 
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Telstra enters into new RSP agreement with Opticomm
Telstra has entered into an RSP agreement with Opticomm (A Uniti Group Limited subsidiary) to provide network fibre services to customers.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Alteryx releases updates, empowers data insights for enterprise
Alteryx has released new advancements designed to aid enterprises with cloud analytics, democratise insights and ensure data governance.