Here’s the truth. The edge continues to captivate our attention. For such a popular term, however, it is one that always seems to be evolving in definition, depending on which data center industry expert one asks. In fact, at the beginning of this year during PTC’19 in Hawaii, our CEO, Todd Coleman, discussed the edge with other leading industry executives. Briefly, he conceptualized it broadly, noting surging interest from cloud providers and other enterprises in availability zones outside of Tier 1 markets.
In this blog, we explain our position in more detail. Although less prevalent in Canada overall, certain regions like Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver are fast becoming hubs for edge computing. As well, emerging technologies like AI, 5G and autonomous vehicles are poised to begin shaping the wider Canadian telecommunications landscape over the next several years. That’s why, here at eStruxture, our data center business model offers three unique benefits for customers looking to establish their edge now and into the future. These include carrier and cloud neutrality; a national pan-Canadian presence; and Canadian ownership that supports stringent data sovereignty and control requirements.
Paradigm Shift: From Content Delivery to Localized Computing Power
Right now, the edge is most commonly thought of as a way to get critical data as close to end-users as possible. Think of this from a media perspective, for example. Say you’re watching a video in Japan, but the content happens to be from Montreal. The long-haul transport requirements would be enormous in this case and quality of service for the viewer would likely not match their expectations. The same scenario rings true in a host of other verticals including online gaming, where AAA game developers must invest in the bandwidth and capacity to serve players all around the world. Consequently, companies continue to leverage Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) as their edge solutions. Here, the edge is all about caching data and placing it as close to consumers as logistically possible.
Across Canada, technologies like AI, VR and other high-performance computing (HPC) applications are fundamentally changing this early conception of the edge. Such applications require much more powerful and local compute, storage and networking resources than most current data center providers in Canada are either used to or equipped to enabling. Let’s take autonomous vehicles. Those would be impossible to run if the data they generate and rely on had to travel all the way to and from a centralized facility. Instead, companies invested in this technology require ultra low latency, real time data transmission and the ability to scale as needed, when needed. This goes much beyond simply caching content.
As a result, the future of the edge as we see it is a widespread mix of facilities that include everything from ultra local micro data centers (MDCs) to larger, hyperscale facilities. At its core, however, the edge is primarily driven by one paramount aspect – network connectivity.
Our Approach to Edge-Capable Data Centers
As a primary step, edge data center customers need highly networked facilities where it is easy and seamless to establish the connections they want. Even though MDCs have a role in edge architectures, ultimately, everything boils down to satisfying customers’ needs for a variety of interconnections and cloud onramps. Therefore, bringing carrier and cloud connectivity to the local environment is in a data center provider’s best interest; a specialty of eStruxture since day one.
Our long-term strategy, which we’ve been implementing since our beginnings in Montreal, is to provide highly connected, high density-capable data centers across Canada that can support edge computing. With facilities in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver (and plans for more!), we are now the largest Canadian-owned, carrier and cloud-neutral data center operator in the country. This is big because it enables us to satisfy the three key concerns of edge customers – neutrality, localization and data security.
If a customer were to approach a telco and try to highly interconnect, they would be stuck using that company’s network products. With us, on the other hand, customers can leverage our agnostic and consultative approach to carrier and cloud connectivity to create the combination of networks, data centers and cloud onramps they desire. With a national presence and an ability to deploy and interchange capital between our markets, customers also have the flexibility they need to scale into new territory. Finally, with our status as a Canadian-owned data center provider, clients can satisfy the strict sovereignty and protection requirements that come with gathering, processing and storing massive amounts of data for their edge-based applications.
In short, our value lies in being able to satisfy the fundamental pain points of edge users in ways other providers cannot. If you’d like to be a part of the eStruxture community and put our resources to work in creating your edge, contact us! We’re ready to help.