Edge computing has seen tremendous growth in the last few years and as we look into 2021 and beyond, it looks like it will only continue to grow. This year has posed a number of challenges for just about every industry. With quarantining and work from home mandates due to the global pandemic, almost every industry has had to quickly learn how to convert their staff to remote work. This is easier said than done. There are a number of challenges, chief among them access to a reliable, fast, and secure network. This challenge only drives the need for edge network growth.
Data Center Frontier elaborates on this anticipated growth and what is expected from the edge computing industry in the coming years, “Edge computing could have a transformational impact on global society and business, enabling new technologies and services across low-latency wireless connectivity. Some technologists believe edge computing will unleash a new world of powerful mobile devices unencumbered by limitations on compute power and data. Consultant and futurist Chetan Sharma projects the edge economy will reach $4.1 trillion by 2030…This revolution won’t be cheap. Many executives predict the buildout of edge computing will pressure the economics of digital infrastructure, leading to the creation of affordable deployments using repeatable form factors. Perhaps most importantly, most edge data facilities will be unmanned, remotely managed and highly automated.”
There is no doubt about it, cost and profit margin are one of the most important factors in edge network growth, making modular data centers an incredibly appealing option. Modular data centers are an ideal solution because they fit the mold of deploying smaller data centers in more locations closer to the end-user more quickly while also being more cost-effective.
Modular Data Centers Deploy Quickly
Modular data centers maximize operational efficiency in a compact space, making them able to be deployed more quickly than a traditional data center buildout. Essentially, a modular data center is a data center with the same infrastructure and basic functionality as a traditional data center but built in a shipping container that can be deployed just about anywhere in the world. Some modular data centers are completely prefabricated so all that needs to happen is to select the modular data center you want and work out how to deploy it for your data center. This massively expedites the speed of deployment for rapid implementation and/or scaling. Additionally, modular data centers can be partially prefabricated and then customized, or be completely customized to your unique needs, depending on timeline, budget, and preferences.
Because multiple components of a data center buildout can happen simultaneously with modular data centers, build speed is enhanced. Further, because it is not a traditional structure buildout, there are fewer regulatory approvals that must be obtained. Without needing to go through various local authorities to obtain permits and approvals, which can take a long time, you circumvent a time-consuming aspect of traditional data center buildouts and are able to deploy your modular data center more quickly.
Modular Data Centers Are Cost-Effective
As aforementioned, building and deploying modular data centers takes far less time than traditional data center facilities and this faster and more streamlined buildout/deployment saves construction costs. Further, because construction costs are cut down and modular data centers are up and running more quickly, it is more likely that you will see profitability sooner.
Modular data centers typically have fixed prices so there are no surprise costs. If you are modifying your modular data center, there may still be relatively fixed costs. Further, because they are smaller and already built inside of shipping containers, they are more cost-effective to transport and deploy. Modular data centers are often built for energy efficiency, making them have lower operating costs which will save money in the short and long-term. The smaller operational footprint that perfectly lends itself to edge computing also means lower real estate costs.
Modular Data Centers Are More Flexible (Easier to Scale & Move)
Modular data centers are far and away the most flexible data center deployment option. As already discussed, modular data centers are fast and cost-effective to deploy. These two characteristics make this particular type of data center the most flexible option in terms of growth and change in the future. Building a data center is not inexpensive so a smaller fixed-price option makes it much easier to add or remove locations in your data center edge network. And, once up and running, you can easily and quickly scale up and add onto your edge network with additional storage containers in the same location or deployed to other edge network locations that are in ideal locations in terms of operating costs and proximity to the end-user. Modular data centers make it easy for businesses to control costs and incrementally scale, or ‘grow as you go,’ enhancing your overall business agility in what can often be an unpredictable market and world in general.
Modular Data Centers Reduce Downtime
Reducing downtime is every data center’s priority but having the proper infrastructure in place to truly protect against this ever-looming threat can be expensive, challenging to execute, and easily overlooked. Modular data centers are the perfect addition to an edge network because you can implement enough small but efficient locations you need for edge computing. This way, if one of your data centers in your network goes down, you always have another that can take on the necessary load. Or, the necessary load can be distributed to multiple small modular data centers to ensure there is no interruption of operations or loss of sensitive data.
The Future of Modular Data Centers in Edge Computing
We live in a world where edge computing was already growing and then the demand of the wild curveball of 2020 – quarantining/remote work – really expedited growth. Modular data centers really are the optimal solution for businesses and data center operations of all sizes. With quick and cost-effective deployment that reduces downtime and makes scaling easy and streamlined, it is easy to see why edge computing with modular data centers will likely boom in the coming years.