What is Edge?
Edge computing is one of the fastest-growing enterprise technologies. But what exactly is edge? How does it work? Where is it located? Learn all this and more, including how low-latency edge computing can help your organization innovate faster and optimize your high-performance applications to deliver exceptional user experiences.
The three data muscles driving differentiation
Before we try to define the edge, we need to understand the forces driving the demand for edge computing solutions. Businesses thrive on their ability to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and connect to their customers, partners, suppliers and stakeholders anywhere in the world, faster than the competition. As digital business becomes increasingly data driven, companies must strengthen three core data muscles:
- Acquiring data
- Analyzing data
- Acting on data
The more proficient a business becomes at this “3A” cycle, the better it can acquire market inputs, create actionable insights, and deliver improved products, services and experiences. The stronger the cycle, the deeper the connection between the business and the people it depends on.
Edge is an architecture that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources. This proximity to data at its source can increase application performance, yielding real-time market insights, transforming operations and products, speeding innovation, and accelerating delivery of products, services and applications back to the market. We could say this desired outcome is our fourth A—Data Agility.
“Edge, you complete me.” –Cloud
Over the past two decades, more and more businesses have turned to cloud services to increase flexibility and scalability while simplifying management of their network and applications. But even with all the cloud offers, the bulk of data processing still happens in a centralized location—the traditional data center. On their own, cloud services will not be enough to power latency-intensive next-gen applications like AI, Machine Learning, robotics, smart cities and automated manufacturing.
Take a closer look at what’s trending in cloud and edge.
The promise of edge is the ability to decentralize and distribute compute closer to the source, at the “edge” of the network. The result is a much faster computational speed than cloud services alone can offer.
Location, location, location!
Location matters, but the old saying “location, location, location” misses the point when it comes to edge computing. The edge may be on-premises, near premises, in a metro cloud, a content delivery network (CDN) or on user devices ranging from self-driving vehicles to point-of-sale kiosks to IoT appliances. The edge may reside in all of the above, depending on the application and use case. More to the point, as Lumen CMO Shaun Andrews notes, the edge is everywhere users and applications engage.
For more insights into where the edge resides, check out this brief video.
OK, so how do we get to the edge?
To deliver next-gen applications and better, more differentiated customer experiences, companies will require a new ecosystem of advanced technologies. To meet this demand, the Lumen Platform was built to deliver the scale, speed, security and intelligence that cloud edge applications require while helping to lower the total cost of ownership. The Lumen Platform consists of four core IT components:
- Software-Defined Networks—using a hybrid of wired and wireless network technologies to connect endpoints and users to the right compute services
- Hybrid Cloud Diversity—offering computing venues in the cloud, embedded in the network, on edge locations, or resident on the enterprise premises
- Managed Orchestration—helping to deploy applications and services to the right execution venue, on the right network, with the right secure operational controls
- Integrated Security—empowering businesses to tailor their own policies based on individual risk assessments
These components are natively integrated with our global fiber network spanning approximately 450,000 route miles, 170K on-net locations, 2,200 third-party public and private data centers, and 60 edge market node locations in North America. The result is an advanced applications architecture designed to deliver near-zero latency for 95% of U.S. business demand.
The benefits of edge adoption will impact nearly every major industry, including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, government, financial services and more. A recent Quadrant Strategies survey of 1700+ senior IT decision makers concluded that a secure, distributed edge compute architecture is crucial to delivering next-level business outcomes and customer experiences.1
See what’s trending across the edge landscape and find your edge in the app-driven future—starting today.
1Quadrant Strategies, Global Poll: Edge Computing Trends, Barriers and Benefits, April 2021.
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