At the latest with the implementation of the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, the European cloud alternative Gaia-X and the latest plans of German car manufacturers for their own cloud solution, CATENA-X, the inevitability of an IT infrastructure modernization becomes apparent. While many companies have so far relied on a centralized IT organization, a trend toward decentralization has been emerging for some time now. Edge computing structures offer great potential for exploiting new opportunities. However, modern developments also present challenges that need to be mastered. What do these challenges look like? How do decentralized and site-distributed structures affect the strategic approaches of industrial companies and the data center industry?
The cross-industry requirements to collect, analyze, and process development and manufacturing data on a large scale – while at the same time ensuring seamless supply – require sustainable data center concepts for the data-driven business models and IT infrastructures of the future. Innovative cloud solutions are still considered a driver of entrepreneurial competitiveness today. But more and more global players such as Google are entering the market with new approaches. The Google Distributed Cloud, for example, is a novel concept that brings together cloud infrastructures, edge computing, and data centers.
The developments and demands from the industry ranks show that the cloud alone is not the one universal solution for all enterprises. Depending on the industry, the structural requirements with regard to future technologies vary greatly – from autonomous driving in the automotive industry to the use of autonomous drones for inventory in logistics to genomics in biology.
Decentralization of IT: How companies are structuring themselves for tomorrow in the medium to long term.
The increasing resource requirements resulting from digital transformation and concepts such as IoT, Smart Cities, or 5G require new ways of thinking on the part of data center and cloud providers. The decisive economic success drivers here are stronger performance in handling large volumes of data with simultaneously low latencies, real-time capability, better scalability, economic cost reductions, as well as data security and data sovereignty. Above all, the latter is one of the most important selection criteria in the context of edge computing for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The GDPR alone is not sufficient to ensure adequate data protection. It only covers the protection of personal data, but not the protection of machine data. Contractual safeguards ensure that only the respective companies are allowed to use the data generated, but not the provider.
Where centralized architectures reach their limits, new opportunities open up for decentralized approaches. Already today, edge is the driver for digital transformation for 62% of German companies, according to the latest results of the IDC (International Data Corporation) study "Cloud Infrastructures and Cloud Architectures in Germany 2021". For DCG, the development, implementation and monitoring of advanced edge datacenter solutions is a top priority. Driven by complex requirements, the goal is to ensure advanced concepts for unlimited global availability.
When the cloud becomes a sideshow – back to the data source with edge computing
Decentralizing data generation and analysis at the edge of the network has several advantages for a company from an economic point of view. Shortened paths enable more energy-efficient data transfer rates, independent of time and location. Reduced latency in milliseconds allows new applications while maintaining high data security. Edge is a secure and sustainable solution for all companies that work just-in-time and want to evaluate their data on-site. Realized projects of globally operating automobile manufacturers and, for example, EDEKA (leading food retailer) show how system-relevant decentralized edge solutions are for high availability. The fact that demand is increasingly tending toward smaller, decentralized edge data center solutions, among other things, is outlined in the industry study by the Network for Energy-Efficient Data Centers, "Energy Efficiency and Data Centers in Germany: Leading the World or Long Gone?" (2018). Here, the selection of the appropriate system is dependent on the application.
Global vision with local drive: the DC-Datacenter Group differentiates in three edge use cases.
The edge solutions of DC-Datacenter Group GmbH have grown in tandem the diversity of project requirements. Projects handled worldwide, e.g. in Germany, Africa, Latin America, Belgium, Russia, China or the USA, reflect the specific portfolio as well as the global competence network of system integrators of the company. Three use cases have crystallized out of these requirements:
- Service-oriented edge data centers (Industry 4.0).
Seamless networking for complex IoT applications, such as Smart Factory and Industry 4.0, poses new challenges. Large amounts of data need to be collected and analyzed in real time. As a result of these developments, the Edge Micro Data Center is proving to be a compact solution. Consisting of an armored edge rack, it is space-saving and can be set up autonomously. The core of this solution is the DC-ITSafe from the subsidiary RZproducts.
- Container equipment (Distributed)
The DC-ITContainer, as an edge distribution solution, is designed for much greater computing power and has twice to five times the capacity of the DC-ITSafe. The goal is to reduce the complexity of IT structures for e.g. 5G providers or industrial companies through a service-oriented architecture. The individual container services are geographically distributed depending on the company locations, but can be networked with each other. On-site data security is guaranteed.
- Classic data centers
The Big Data strategy pursued by Smart Cities is aimed at improving the standard of living through innovative technologies as well as decentralized working. For this purpose, edge data centers are deployed and connected to central data centers. The modular deployment ensures a data-centric IT infrastructure, which is a basic prerequisite for the emergence of Smart Cities.
Jörgen Venot is Head of Global Sales, International with Data Center Group. He is a thought leader on international development with +10 years in the IT and data center business. Jörgen has a proven track record of developing international businesses with partner network development and joint-venture implementations. He enjoys an international personal background, speaking 4 to 5 languages.
Please note: The opinions expressed in Industry Insights published by dotmagazine are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the publisher, eco – Association of the Internet Industry.