Magazine Button
A new era: Does Edge still have a place in the ‘new normal’?

A new era: Does Edge still have a place in the ‘new normal’?

Data CentresInsightsOperations & SystemsTop Stories

Jackson Lee, VP of Corporate Development, Colt DCS, says hyperscale offers businesses the flexibility and scalability to deal with any situation that comes their way and investment in this area enables the running of efficient operations in the face of uncertainty.

2020 has changed everything we once knew about business, including where best to run one. Once filled with company HQ’s and packed offices, major cities have undergone a ‘mass exodus’, leaving office spaces over-priced and under-used in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. This shift from the corporate office to the home office has accelerated the flexible, remote approach to working that was already trickling into more forward-thinking companies long before the pandemic. For many companies and their employees, remote working is no longer just a company benefit, but a necessary step to maintaining business growth.

With 82% of executives saying they saw productivity levels either hold steady or increase as people shifted to remote work, there’s seemingly no rush to get employees back to the workplace, even outside of national lockdowns. With this more permanent shift towards remote working, never-before-seen levels of bandwidth and connectivity will be required to maintain productivity from homes around the country. As a result, demand has already shifted firmly away from the need for latency and data centre proximity to end-users in major cities. Instead, we are seeing a strong uptick in the need for scalability and flexibility that hyperscale facilities offer.

So, does this mean Edge facilities no longer have a role to play in today’s ‘new normal’? Has the pandemic spurred us all on to the age of hyperscale?

A more connected nation

Not too long ago, localised Edge data centres were an ideal solution to companies based in major cities. The close proximity of Edge centres to the end-user provides the ability to increase the speed of operations, which is especially important in industries such as financial trading and gaming where reduced traffic and quick response is key. However, with digital gaming increasingly becoming the norm, the number of games being downloaded onto the cloud is set to grow exponentially, with the cloud gaming market expected to grow by 25% by 2025. In this way, even the few remaining Edge-favouring verticals may start to see the emergence of a more symbiotic relationship between the Edge and the cloud.

The recent surge of employees working from home, often in more rural areas and second-tier towns, means that the need for connectivity is no longer exclusive to large cities. Instead, there is a new demand for flexibility in terms of where and when employees can work and connect.

The pandemic has not only affected how employees work, but also the priorities of companies at large – scalability being a new must-have element of many companies’ long-term business plans. Edge data centres lack this ability to be quickly adapted, leaving businesses who continue to rely purely on Edge, vulnerable to paying for unneeded space and staff in an economic downturn, and equally sub-optimal reactivity in the face of opportunity. 

The end of an era

This shift in business priorities was not necessarily caused by the pandemic, but it was certainly cemented by it. Employees were already calling for more flexible working. Employers were already considering migrating from high-cost cities to more affordable office locations. The need for close-proximity data centres was already on the decline – the pandemic has merely sped up the process.

Given that over half of IT leaders consider faster delivery of IT services a top priority for 2020, it’s no wonder that demand for the easily scaled, quickly expanded hyperscale centre has begun to overshadow the Edge. Hyperscale offers a permanent solution to the increased speed of modern businesses demand, which Edge data centres were not built to keep up with.

Enter the age of hyperscale

The future for business is full of uncertainty, but if this really is the ‘new normal’, then future-proofing needs to be the top priority for every organisation. Hyperscale offers businesses the flexibility and scalability to deal with any situation that comes their way – whether this may be a second wave of shut-downs or a shift to permanent remote working. 

The age of hyperscale has been a long time coming. We saw mainstream CSP’s and major content service providers make this move years ago and uptake has only increased since, showing no signs of slowing down in the years to come. The reason for this shift is clear; hyperscale data centres facilitate large-scale cloud adoption. The pandemic has forced organisations across verticals to recognise the multitude of benefits that the cloud offers. From faster time to market and simplified innovation to easier scalability, and reduced risk, cloud adoption can benefit businesses immensely, particularly in the current climate. As businesses continue to accelerate their transition to the cloud, the demand for hyperscale will continue to pick up speed.

Scalability is another reason why hyperscale uptake has gathered pace in recent times. When it comes to scalability, the rhetoric is always about growth and expansion. However, a vital yet often overlooked aspect of scalability is the opportunity to scale down when needed. For businesses looking to protect themselves in their recovery process post-pandemic, this will be invaluable. Hyperscale facilities offer businesses just that – the flexibility to operate like an elastic band, expanding or downsizing when necessary and at a moment’s notice.

Futureproofing amid uncertainty

While a handful of verticals may continue to benefit from the latency exclusive to Edge centres, demand for the Edge is only set to decline further. With ‘future-proofing’ at the top of most organisations’ priority lists, it will be important to consider how viable and efficient operations can be maintained in the face of an ever-uncertain future.

The solution to this dilemma? Hyperscale. By investing in this infrastructure, businesses can achieve the flexibility, scalability and wide-reaching connectivity necessary to survive and grow in the ‘new normal’.

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Magazine Cover

View Magazine Archive