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Micro Data Center and Edge Computing

Updated on February 14, 2022
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As digital transformation gains traction and several businesses move to the cloud, some face latency, and bandwidth issues, which typically affect their day-to-day operations. Most of these enterprises are also learning about the benefits of edge computing and micro data centers and how moving data processing and storage closer to the end-users can serve their business needs.

That said, companies relying on real-time data processing, e.g., those deploying IoT devices, have been adopting edge computing at scale. The latter is a computing model that allows these companies to deploy modular data centers as well as edge computing architectures such as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).

Below, we’ve dived deep into the basics of micro data centers and edge computing and how these two co-exist in today’s enterprise computing world.

What Is a Micro Data Center?

A micro data center (MDC) is a smaller version of the traditional data center, but with all the storage, compute, networking, cooling, and power infrastructure found in a typical data center. Most micro data centers contain server racks, network equipment, servers, and in-rack cooling tools.

micro data center

Other components include uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, fire suppression technology, physical security measures, etc. MDCs vary in size depending on the location to be deployed and the expected use cases.

Often, MDCs come preassembled. So all the equipment is typically preinstalled in the server racks. Before deploying these units, IT staff will only need to install additional network components, configure, and monitor the equipment to ensure optimal operation. Similarly, these units are modular in nature, meaning you can easily swap one element for another in case of failure without disrupting the entire system.

Today, several business models are moving from centralized data centers such as Microsoft Azure and AWS to agile edge computing architecture, thanks to MDCs. One of the main benefits of using MDCs is that they bring edge computing to the real world and closer to the end-users and data sources. This enhances faster deployment times, lower latency, and higher scalability while reducing operating costs.

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing refers to the distributed computing technology that brings computing power and data storage to the network’s periphery and closer to the data sources. Instead of sending generated data to centralized data centers, edge computing allows the processing & analysis of data to be done closer to the network.

edge computing

This makes it easier to process large volumes of data and draw insights from IoT devices and even 5G networks. Since the data doesn’t have to travel over a network to a cloud server or data center, latency is reduced significantly, the same as the bandwidth requirement. Therefore, businesses benefit from faster response times, quick and deeper insights, and improved customer experiences.

How Do Micro Data Centers and Edge Computing Co-exist?

As stated earlier, edge computing and micro data centers co-exist in areas where they have been deployed. Simply put, edge computing is a technology or model that brings data processing and storage capabilities closer to the data source, so businesses don’t have to rely much on centralized data centers.

On the other hand, a micro data center is a type of data center design that powers edge computing in the real-world setting. In other words, it’s the physical data center at the network’s edge that performs computation and storage.

Micro data centers can be deployed in any setting where edge computing is ideal. Some MDCs are super small, especially those used in office spaces, so they hardly require any dedicated cooling. Other areas where MDCs can be used include retail stores to run cash registers, security systems, data analytics, etc.

In most cases, MDCs and edge computing find their applications in areas where cloud computing has certain limitations, such as latency, bandwidth, and security. The banking sector is a perfect example of an industry that uses both the public cloud and edge computing technology with an MDC data-center design.

Are Micro Data Centers Right for Your Business?

Now that you know what edge computing and micro data centers are, you can easily weigh if these two technologies are right for your business. The ability to scale up or down with micro data centers makes this option quite irresistible among companies with future growth or expansion plans.

For applications that rely on AI and machine learning capabilities, the bandwidth and latency costs associated with the public cloud can be quite high. This makes micro data centers the ultimate solution for reducing costs and deployment times while increasing scalability and resilience.

Similarly, companies considering on-premise data centers can save a lot of money and time by adopting MDCs instead. This is because micro data centers are simple and ready to go, with little to no modification.

Embrace Edge Computing With MDCs

The fact that many businesses and industries are pivoting to edge computing doesn’t mean an end to the traditional data centers. In fact, most enterprises that leverage edge computing and MDCs may also store some of the data in the public cloud or on-premise depending on their unique business models.

Before deciding to deploy micro data centers in your organization, it’s advisable to consult an expert IT company to help you with the planning, design, and implementation. That way, you’ll benefit from professional advice, helping you avoid costly implementation mistakes.

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