dotmagazine: Can you define for me what you see as the edge?
Jörgen Venot: What we see as the edge is distributed, decentralized IT organization or IT infrastructure. We see, for instance, that some global companies – like global automotive companies – are equipping their business units around the world with
edge computing products (from our company, as an example), allowing the protection of their servers, their IT infrastructure, in every business location and every factory they have around the world. They do still have some centralized IT loads, but at the same time they are deploying this distributed edge solution. We see that globally in industrial companies, like in the automotive sector. But we also see that with major retailers – for example, EDEKA and REWE in Germany: we have provided them with edge solutions for their logistics IT, decentralized across Germany (which is a big country) and running 24/7, because their logistics also run nonstop.
dot: How do you envisage edge solutions which are internationally compliant for reliability and security, for mission-critical data?
Venot: If we look at the automotive industry from a global standpoint (I insist on the automotive industry because they have a very high standard of expectation), I see two aspects. First, there is their own industrial aspect. They rely on our edge IT solutions to protect their IT. It cannot fail because otherwise their factory would stop. That is mission-critical in the sense that they rely on this distributed IT infrastructure to run their core business. That's point number one.
Point number two is that, again, if we look at the automotive industry and the developments towards autonomous driving, this will need a distributed edge infrastructure. This requires distributed data centers or mini data centers along the road. So again, our solutions are being used or tested and also implemented in pilot projects to develop the right IT infrastructure for the future of autonomous driving, for instance.
But these are only a few examples among multiple applications or multiple industries. This trend and the use of our edge data center products are also strong with IT companies, telecom companies, governments, critical services such as utilities or healthcare, to name a few.
They all have one goal: the permanent availability and security of company processes. Worldwide. 24 hours, 365 days.
dot: Can you describe what you mean by an edge data center?
Venot: An edge data center can start very small, from one edge rack. An example is the compact data center solution DC-ITSafe, which is actually the best-selling data center product of our subsidiary RZproducts. This product is shipped globally – we deliver to Brazil, Russia, China, and Europe, of course. It’s a smaller edge solution, up to 15 kilowatts with a classic cooling solution.
Because we have understood that some industries or some applications need more computing power in an edge-distributed solution, we have come up with a new solution in partnership with the company Cloud & Heat, with a water-cooled high-density edition of our classic DC-ITSafe. So we are more than doubling the capacity, and we are using a cooling technology that is also better for the environment.
This is actually also a point that we are pushing strongly: to protect or to reduce the impact of our business on the environment by implementing water cooling solutions or heat recovery. So that's one type of solution, talking about really small, decentralized solutions.
And then you have, of course, bigger edge data center solutions that are basically like mini data centers. Imagine a more traditional data center, just on a smaller scale.
dot: How do you deal with providing edge data centers in remote areas with limited connectivity, power supply, et cetera?
Venot: In order to manage projects when we are in remote places or complicated areas, we have a strategy of working with our local partners – on the product side, where we are going global. That can be either our equivalents – data center specialists in the country – or so-called system integrators that will integrate our products into customer projects locally and help with installation and maintenance. It's a new philosophy we implemented one year ago, and that we are pushing strongly. We have a very close relationship with our partners, so that we are really working together.
We work with local partners, for example, for industrial customers that have factories around the world – in Germany, Brazil, Latin America, China, and the US. We always have both a global approach and this local touch. Our partners are the local face to the customer, and the number to call if there is an emergency. So we offer services and products on both the global and very local levels.
And then in terms of products, we developed solutions that are a perfect fit for remote edge areas, such as the DC-ITContainer, a containerized data center solution, Made in Germany.
dot: So basically this would be the Edge Data Center-as-a-Service?
Venot: Exactly. Basically as a service, because we can also manage, and offer supervision and maintenance. It means that customers very often don't just buy a data center or a product from Data Center Group, they also buy the life insurance with it. And it's really what we consider that we are doing in the service division: We are managing the life insurance for our customers. Because it's always the same thing – it's mission-critical. We cannot fail, because the data centers cannot fail. So we take this really seriously – we have a large network of technicians, specialists, and engineers that work on this 24/7.
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.