We often think of edge data centers as a remote data center that an organization deploys to process a local data set in order to subsequently send that data set, or not, to a larger, primary data center. An example might be an Oil Rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil Rigs are essentially floating cities, and they have plenty of data to process and systems to run. The expectation is that the number of edge data centers will grow exponentially as 5G rolls out but your organization might already have an edge data center.
An Edge-Now Data center is a phenomenon that we are seeing in IT right now. These data centers heavily leverage the cloud for a variety of services and may only have a few on-premises applications.
Architecting an Edge-Now Data Center
Traditionally, we might call an Edge-Now data center a mid-tier data center. We usually find a typical Edge-Now data center in an organization that is moving critical services to the cloud. These services start with the fairly obvious, like productivity applications found in Office 365 or G-Suite. It often extends to moving file services to the cloud by leveraging a solution like Nasuni, which enables organizations to eliminate on-premises file servers as well as the challenge of protecting those servers. Next, these organizations may leverage a solution like Druva to move some or all of their backup storage to the cloud. In the case of Druva the majority of backup processing, as well as disaster recovery, moves to the cloud.
With basic services, file services and backup data moving to the cloud, the Edge-Now data center has to consider what it still needs on-premises. In most cases, this leaves the organization with the applications that it needs to run the business or to service its customers. While it may look at moving some of these applications to the cloud, in most cases it seems the majority of them will stay on-premises. At that point, the organization needs the server infrastructure to run those applications and the storage infrastructure to support them.
The remaining infrastructures are significant but they are typically nowhere near the same size as they were prior to the company’s investment in the cloud. In many cases, the organization can meet the computing and storage infrastructure demands with either a single virtualized cluster or a scale-up storage array. A hyperconverged infrastructure solution like those from Nutanix or Axellio is also an option.
The organization can even reduce the storage infrastructure by leveraging a public cloud as primary storage, like ClearSky Data’s solution. The ClearSky architecture consists of an on-premises flash array that presents LUNs or Volumes to the remaining on-premises servers. The on-premises flash-array though, only caches the most active data, so its footprint is relatively small. Older data is tiered to a regional point of presence (POP) so that if there is an on-premises cache miss, the latency to the next tier won’t crash applications. A third tier is located, typically in the public cloud, to act as a long-term repository.
If the organization wants to keep storage assets on site but likes the operating expenses (OPEX) only business model, there are consumption based options available for consideration. StorONE, for example, recently introduced S1aaS which enables the organization to subscribe to an on-premises 18TB all-flash array for less than $1,000 per month. While the subscription supports expansion to over 100TBs the $1,000 per month system may be all the Edge-Now Data Center needs.
The advantage of moving to an Edge-Now strategy is the organization can make the move in organized, logical steps, instead of the typical cloud migration, which is usually jumping into the deep end of the pool. It is an ideal strategy for organizations that don’t want to “get out of the data center business” but want to limit its growth or just shrink the on-premises investment. Well vetted across thousands of customers, all the technology mentioned is available now with multiple options available depending on how you’d like to design your Edge-Now data center.
Want some help mapping out an Edge-Now data center strategy? Feel free to reach out to me directly to set up a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org