ICT Today

ICT Today April/May/June 2020

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April/May/June 2020 I 27 As with many buzzwords, there are many different definitions from many different people and organizations, most of which are correct in some way, but the unknown cannot be precisely defined (Figure 1). While all the aforementioned buzzwords are important in their own right, they are also driving the necessity for one in particular, namely the edge data center (EDC). Because it can be difficult to define individual unknowns, what happens when the definition of one technology buzzword is driven by undefined definitions of others? This is the case when trying to define an EDC. Trying to define it is similar to the response one receives when asking Siri what her favorite color is. Never asked? Well, her response is "sort of greenish but with more dimension." In the Telecom Industry Association's (TIA's) TIA Position Paper, Edge Data Centers (2018), the many authors and contributors from major ICT companies who com- prise the TIA's Edge Data Center Working Group ask the question, "What is an Edge Data Center?" The answer is as follows: companies engaged in the development or installation of EDCs, carefully research and assess EDCs as they evolve over time. The Uptime Institute, unlike TIA and BICSI, is a for- profit data center entity creating its own proprietary stan- dards. According to its CTO, Chris Brown, "An edge data center is a collection of IT assets that has been moved closer to the end user that is ultimately served from a large data center somewhere." 1 According to an EDC manufacturer addressing grow- ing latency needs, "We're now seeing regional hyperscale nodes of 20 to 60 megawatts in Ashburn and Chicago. Even if it's a 60 megawatt cloud data center, if it's serv- ing that content locally, it's an edge data center." 2 For data center designers and installers determined to gain a better understanding of EDCs amid the Siri-like definitions, two pieces of information are important: • EDCs can be located within a conventional ANSI/TIA-942-B data center. • The standards and the breadth of content for traditional data centers should also be applied to modular, containerized, edge and hyperscale data centers as cited in ANSI/BICSI 002-2019, Data Center Design and Implementation Best Practices. EDCs share many attributes with larger, more traditional DC facilities however they are designed to support widely distributed (often cloud based) services. The location of EDCs is driven by different business cases—application latency, network capac- ity/cost are common drivers—otherwise most services would simply follow the trend and end up in centralized facilities. EDC design will require a new balance between redun- dancy and availability. Operating many dis- tributed EDCs also implies a potentially large impact in overall energy consumption. The Siri-like definition provided by the TIA validates the assertion that evolving technologies are difficult to accurately define. Standards bodies, such as the TIA and BICSI, are unaffected by the hype and the many often conflicting reports attempting to forecast the future growth of specific technologies including EDCs. Rather, their work groups, consisting of data center experts from 5G Edge HDC Cloud IIoT IoT Latency Smart Industry 4.0 FIGURE 1: Do we really know how the evolution of these buzzwords will impact network requirements of tomorrow?

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