“The cloud” is one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th century. It allows organizations to easily access their data, reduce large capital expenditures around compute and storage infrastructure, and shift to a more financially predictable OPEX model. Now, we’re seeing the evolution of cloud solutions with the emergence of cloud edge.
Joe Sacchetti, Zadara Channel Chief, talks about how cloud edge takes all the benefits of the cloud and brings it closer to end users for an overall improved experience.
What is Cloud Edge?
To explain cloud edge, we first have to outline how public cloud providers currently operate. At its core, the cloud allows users to shift data processing and storage away from on-premise data centers to infrastructure hosted and managed by large cloud providers. Organizations then access their data (housed on the provider’s infrastructure) via the cloud. Much of today’s cloud storage is currently provided by massive hyperscale providers (companies like AWS, Microsoft and Google) who have physical data centers in about a dozen locations across the United States.
Cloud edge shifts some of this workload away from centralized locations and puts data closer to users regardless of their location. It has all the original benefits of cloud plus the added bonus of lower latency. It also has the potential to give organizations more control over the configuration of their actual cloud environment, rather than sharing generic infrastructure with all cloud users.
Why is Cloud Edge So Exciting?
One of the most exciting promises of cloud edge is the strong potential that it will reduce latency — the amount of time it takes data to go from Point A (cloud infrastructure) to Point B (your device). In today’s world, performance lives and dies by a matter of milliseconds, so the closer the data is to end users, the better.
Today’s users are accustomed to instant response and expect to receive data as soon as they hit a button or click a link. But the farther away you are from the data center, the longer that process takes. With only a few hyperscale locations housing the majority of data, it stands to reason that not everyone is close to a data center. Cloud edge spreads data across hundreds (if not thousands) of locations, putting it closer to users. The closer you are to the data, but higher performance you’ll experience.
With today’s dispersed workforce it’s important for everyone to have similar performance and latency experiences, regardless of their physical location. While the distance between NYC and Chicago isn’t going to change, what may change is the ability to have data closer to you via cloud edge, creating better latency. Cloud edge promises to bring people, data, and workloads together in the same place, just about everywhere.
Better Cost Efficiency
One of the major draws of cloud solutions is the transition from expensive CAPEX to predictable OPEX. But many organizations are realizing that cloud solutions aren’t always cost effective. Efficiency is all about predictability and the financial model. With traditional cloud providers, the financial model may seem predictable, but when you add custom connections, the fluctuating nature of real data loads, and ingress and egress fees, predictability often goes out the window.
As cloud edge technology is beginning to emerge, we’re also seeing some changes in pricing and service delivery models.
The Old Way
Pay as you grow: Capacity is added as needed. However, once capacity is increased, you’re stuck with it (and the increased cost), whether you still need it or not.
The New Way
Pay as you go: The ability scale and recede capacity based on need, creating a much more customized and affordable model. This is especially useful for industries with seasonal scaling needs (i.e. retail, healthcare) or organizations that experience boot storms.
Cloud Edge Customization
The customization ability provided by cloud edge also holds promise, as organizations can tailor environments to their exact needs. Customizable architecture makes for a highly efficient environment.
With cloud edge, you can mix types of drives, the amount of network, bandwidth, and everything you need to grow or recede as needed. Excitingly, cloud edge may bring you the option to use whatever storage you want, on whatever protocol you want, and whatever operating language you prefer.
The Future of Cloud
As cloud adoption continues to grow at an impressive rate it’s only a matter of time until the solution evolves and improves. Cloud edge presents one of the most exciting evolutions of cloud, making the experience better for both businesses and consumers. While cloud was one of the most important innovations of the late 20th century, cloud edge just might be one of the most important innovations of the early 21st century.