Five Ways the Edge is Driving Digital Business

eWEEK DATA POINTS RESOURCE PAGE: Equinix study identifies five IT transformational steps that digital leaders consistently implement to transform IT and reach a digital-ready state.


Major macro, technology and regulatory trends have created a new normal in every industry: If your IT infrastructure isn’t digital-ready, your business can’t compete. As enterprise technology continues to become increasingly seamless, it’s imperative that businesses continue to bring IT delivery, applications and data processing closer to the users—at the digital edge. 

For the record: Edge computing is a method of optimizing cloud computing systems by performing data processing at the edge of the network, near the source of where the data emanates. This reduces the communications bandwidth needed between sensors and the central data center by performing analytics and knowledge generation at or near the source of the data. This approach requires using resources that may not be continuously connected to a network, such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and sensors.

By its very nature, edge computing—which also includes these devices communicating with each other via Bluetooth and other non-cloud methods—decreases workloads that used to be processed inside 24/7 cloud computing systems. This not only increases the efficiency of computing and data applications but also promotes further implementation of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G bandwidth.

To move closer to the edge and accelerate their transformation to a digital-ready state, IT leaders must consider using interconnection—direct and private data exchange between key business partners—to remove the distance between IT services and users. This is the only way to rapidly and exponentially improve digital business performance, which is driven by dynamic interactions between people, systems, applications, data and clouds at the digital edge. As digitalization of the global economy increases, so does installed interconnection bandwidth capacity worldwide. Capacity is expected to reach 13,300+ TB/ps by 2022.

In this eWEEK Data Points article, Steve Madden, vice president of Market Segment Development at Equinix, an industry-respected interconnection provider, lays out the five pivotal actions digital leaders can take to accelerate IT transformations to achieve digital readiness. Equinix annually performs a study that assesses the growth of this global digital economy, measuring and forecasting the most successful ways companies are leveraging interconnection to enhance their businesses.

The study, known as the Global Interconnection Index (GXI), indicates a typical deployment profile that is needed to achieve a digital-ready state. This target state incorporates interconnection hubs across regions, connecting unique ecosystem participants via a vast array of direct interconnections. The result is the ability to not just survive, but to solve for the convergence of macro trends facing all businesses today for greater advantage. According to the GXI, implementing the following five IT transformational steps is critical to creating a competitive advantage for your digital business.

Data Point No. 1: Optimize Network Segments

Removing the distance between users and services results in 60%+ reduction in transport costs, 30%+ reduction in latency, and increases bandwidth 10X. To optimize network segments, IT leaders must re-architect their corporate networks—one strategic location at a time—into a distributed set of interconnected hubs located at the digital edge.

Data Point No. 2: Interconnect Private and Public Clouds

Directly connecting public and private clouds and segmenting traffic into hubs reduces connectivity costs to clouds by 70%, while also reducing complexity and creating more connectivity choices. According to GXI Vol. 3, cloud and IT services is a leading consumer of interconnection bandwidth, predicted to grow at a 41% CAGR, as these businesses further extend their global reach and enable hybrid multicloud infrastructures. 

Data Point No. 3: Deploy Security & Controls Adjacent

A large-scale cybersecurity breach is a serious risk. Cybersecurity insurance premiums paid by companies are expected to increase from $2.5 billion in 2015 to $20 billion in 2025. Managing cybersecurity risk requires distributing and interconnecting security controls for real-time control over access and data for a reduction in audit costs and overall exposure to security risks. For businesses operating in more than three countries, the GXI forecasts a 5X increase in the interconnection bandwidth required to locally connect data sources and security controls to

meet data compliance regulations and reduce cybersecurity vulnerability points.

Data Point No. 4: Manage Data Exchange Globally

By 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud. However, more than 20 major countries block data transfers across their borders. For businesses spending greater than $50,000 per month on distributed IT services, the need for interconnection bandwidth capacity increases 4X on average to support real-time interactions. Managing data exchange globally via interconnection reduces data transport costs, real-time delivery and creates localized processing advantage.  

Data Point No. 5: Exchange in Digital Business Ecosystems

Placing business-differentiating services at exchange points allows companies to engage in different digital business ecosystems. This facilitates the highest digital throughput at lowest latency for a company, maximizing the digital experience and market position. With all other points combined, a company becomes digital ready. Achieving a digital ready state enables application exchange—placing highly interactive business and user-facing services physically proximate to customers, employees, partners and clouds for the greatest performance, ecosystem access and security. This optimized state gives businesses a significant advantage in the digital economy.

Data Point No. 6: Summary

Together, these actions form an interconnection maturity model that addresses the disruptive trends facing all businesses. The GXI also provides a real-world deployment profile of a digital-ready infrastructure that will help IT leaders assess where their company is in its own digital maturity. Armed with this fresh insight, leaders can develop a game-changing digital business platform that maximizes their companies’ position at the digital edge to bring new value to their customers, employees and partners on a global scale.

Go here for a copy of the full Vol. 3 GXI report.






Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...