Industry-wide investment in edge computing will change the profile of the data center ecosystem over the next four years, increasing the edge component of total compute by 29% over that time, from 21% of total compute to 27% in 2026. The magnitude of the industry’s ongoing shift to the edge is among the notable findings from a new global survey of data center industry professionals from Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions. Vertiv reportedly surveyed 156 industry professionals with insight into their company’s edge computing plans.
About a third (34%) of those surveyed are either planning or in the midst of significant edge deployments. A quarter already have deployed new, purpose-built edge sites, and 41% are operating legacy edge sites. All the activity at the edge is striking, but survey participants also anticipate a 150% increase in core sites and increased activity in the cloud. According to the survey, the percentage of IT resources deployed in the public cloud is expected to grow from 19% currently to 25% by 2026. The demand for computing resources is skyrocketing across today’s networks.
“The next five years will reshape the data center landscape, shifting more and more computing to the edge while buttressing the enterprise facilities at the core of modern hybrid networks,” said Martin Olsen, global vice president for edge strategy and transformation for Vertiv. “This survey makes clear the urgent demand for computing closer to the end user. The future of computing is about speed and latency, and the only way to meet the need is to build out the edge of the network.”
“In Asia, a good percentage of those surveyed were either already deploying several edge locations or are planning to deploy a significant number of edge locations in the near future. This tracks with what we are consistently seeing in our business, as more customers shift select deployments to the edge, to reduce latency and improve bandwidth and overall services,” said Anand Sanghi, president, ASI (Australia/New Zealand, Southeast Asia, India, Japan and South Korea), Vertiv. “But concerns still remain. Survey respondents in the region ranked security and latency at the edge as their top concerns and we are working with our customers to ensure that these are addressed.”
The survey results arrive on the heels of the release late last year of Edge Archetypes 2.0: Deployment-Ready Edge Infrastructure Models. That report furthered Vertiv’s research into the edge of the network and identified four edge infrastructure models that enable a more intelligent, semi-standardized approach to edge infrastructure deployment. The survey results are consistent with the premise of Edge Archetypes 2.0 – that massive growth at the edge necessitates a more standardized approach to edge architecture.
The survey also revealed the changing profile of the modern edge site. Twenty-nine percent of sites feature between 5 and 20 racks, and 13% have more than 20 racks. More racks mean more power, and the survey results reflect that: 28% say their sites require between 21 and 200 kW, and 14% report power demands in excess of 200 kW. The days of single racks tucked away in rudimentary IT closets are over.
The survey also included that sustainability is playing a major role in new and planned edge deployments. More than three-quarters of sites (77%) are using or planning to use energy-efficient UPS systems. In addition, 40% are planning to use renewable energy; 31% water-efficient cooling; 29% dynamic grid support technologies; and 19% refrigerants with a low global warming potential (GWP). Furthermore, while security and availability were top priorities of participants deploying edge sites, the survey exposed some current design and operating practices that could reduce edge computing site’s ability to achieve these objectives as the number of sites expands.