The “Edge” — a brief introduction

The edge is where the people are (Image: Screenshot from SimCity 5)

As we mentioned in our last blog post, we would like to engage in a series of more in-depth articles on issues pertaining to the future of the data infrastructure as we see it.

Before we do that, though, we figured it might be a good idea to provide a little background on the concept of edge networking. Since the edge is central to our vision for the future of the internet, a few sentences explaining this concept would put our thinking in the right perspective.

So here are a few great articles, introducing edge networking in its current understanding:

  • Here are the definitions of latency and bandwidth — just two of a number of critical root-causes for the current need for edge networking.
  • For a while, latency mattered mostly only to Wall Street, but already in 2012, it graduated from being a niche problem to a common consumer internet issue, especially as related to “bandwidth-intensive” services like YouTube and Netflix.
  • Arising to the challenge, content providers discovered they would benefit from locating at least some of their resources close to their end-users — and so the edge was born.
  • Given it is a relatively new phenomenon on the internet infrastructure landscape, we are yet to figure out what final shape it will end up taking or even how exactly one would go about defining it.
  • But one thing is certain: it is a clear trend in the development of internet infrastructure, and it is here to stay because a host of future technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, will largely depend on it.

So, super-briefly in layman terms, this is edge networking! Now that we have a bit of background, we are ready to continue with our series. Obviously, this overview is far from exhaustive, so feel free to suggest more edge resources in the comments below!

In our next post we will take a look at precedents and possibilities for exhaust heat reuse in data centers.


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