TIA’s Releases New Position Paper on Edge Data Centers

As new technology like Smart Factories, Smart Cities and self-driving vehicles emerge, the ICT industry will be required to provide networks that are much faster and carry larger capacities  than what a traditional data center is capable of delivering.  Over the last year, I worked closely with TIA’s Edge Data Center Working Group to develop new, forward-thinking requirements for new “Edge Data Centers” (EDCs). What is that, you ask?

Ultimately, in a 5G future, data will need to be stored and processed closer to the edge of the network and closer to users. A recent study shows that one million new IoT devices will be sold every hour by 2021. In order to keep up with this demand for data, the new EDCs will need to be positioned much closer to consumers. Simply put, an edge data center moves your data closer to you.

Today’s data centers house multiple high-performance data storage resources in a single location, often far away from end users. To adapt to the needs of new technology, Edge Data Centers (EDCs) would augment the work being done in traditional data centers in a single space and move some data and computing closer to consumers and properties that demand data quickly. This will reduce latency, improve speeds and quality and deliver a better Quality of Service (QoS) to the users.

When TIA launched our EDC Working Group we started thinking through the best practices for these evolving edge data centers. Today, just one year later, TIA’s Edge Data Center working group released a new Position Paper, the first of its kind, outlining the considerations for development, implementation, and operational features of these new Edge Data Centers that we believe are going to be central in the future. You can download a copy of the paper here: https://www.tiaonline.org/report/tia-position-paper-edge-data-centers/

To help explain the transition towards edge data centers, I sat down with Don Byrne, Managing Partner at Metrix411 and Jim Young, Global Enterprise DC Lead at CommScope for a TIA NOW video. We discussed topics like the common cell tower you might recognize now transforming into a new edge data center, or even something as common as a small box on a light pole becoming a new data center to service a specific community. You can view the video here: https://www.tiaonline.org/video/the-cutting-edge-of-next-gen-data-centers/

Our work in this area is also adding eight new terms to the broader lexicon of edge computing. We are adding these terms to the official Linux Foundation Open Glossary of Edge Computing, which is helping to build and advance a common understanding of edge computing across the technology sector. The full glossary can be accessed here: https://github.com/State-of-the-Edge/glossary

 TIA’s Edge Data Center Working Group brings together carriers, data center owners, equipment and cabling suppliers, consultants, auditing firms, and more to establish best practices and standards for the mass scale operation of edge data centers for hosted computing.

Harry Smeenk

About Harry Smeenk

Harry Smeenk is vice president of program development at the Telecommunications Industry Association.