How Data Storage Demands Will Drive Edge Computing Growth [Q&A]

How Data Storage Demands Will Drive Edge Computing Growth [Q&A]

Companies are producing ever greater amounts of data, and as they deploy more IoT, edge, and 5G devices, the volume will only increase.

This puts increased pressure on storage capacity, which has the potential to be an inhibiting factor in digital transformation. We spoke to Dr. Tong Zhang, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of ScaleFlux, to learn more about the importance of storage to enterprise IT plans and infrastructure.

BN: What is driving the current data growth in enterprise computing?

TZ: Data growth is exploding. Data creation is expected to reach a staggering 180 zettabytes by 2025, 118.8 zettabytes more than in 2020. As the amount of data we produce grows exponentially, storage requirements data is also increasing. The race for market advantage is pushing companies to deploy more devices in more data centers and edge locations, and this is exacerbated by the rise of distributed cloud technologies like 5G that are driving huge amounts of data that must be processed and stored.

BN: How are cloud and edge computing affecting this growth?

TZ: This increase is fueled by several factors. First, the need to power an increasing number of base stations – the fixed transceivers that serve as the main communication point for mobile technology like 5G (and even 6G) – is expected to explode as technologies become more popular. Additionally, as the number of self-driving cars grows, so does the need for local storage and remote processing power in the cars themselves. In mid-2021, there were more than 1,400 self-driving cars in the United States, but one report predicts there could be as many as 33 million autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the road by 2040. D Other technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), as well as the digitization of manufacturing (so-called Industry 4.0) are further fueling this trend of ever more data.

Needless to say, it will be impossible to store all this data in the cloud. As the demand for anytime, anywhere data access and processing increases, the backbone network bandwidth and data processing capacity of centralized data centers is slowing dramatically.

BN: Edge computing has really taken off in some industries, like telecom, what does that mean for 5G/6G wireless systems?

TZ: According to a report by Allied Market Research, the 5G base station market is expected to reach over $190 billion by 2030. To keep up with this massive growth will require an information technology infrastructure paradigm completely different that brings computation and data storage much closer. to data sources and end users than today’s centralized data centers. The answer is edge computing.

Edge Computing offers a significant reduction in data traffic on the backbone network and a much better quality of service (QoS); two natural effects of moving compute and storage closer to data sources and end users. Some industries have already caught on and are beginning to reap these benefits. For example, telecommunications companies have started to deploy cutting-edge IT infrastructures to steadily improve QoS for their customers in the presence of growing 5G/6G wireless communication systems. And with good reason: edge computing is essentially the only option for telcos to reduce round-trip data latency. It will also become a critical imperative for other emerging applications, such as AVs.

BN: As a relatively new technology vector, the cost of edge computing can be seen as a barrier to its adoption. How can organizations balance their costs with the desired results?

TZ: The success of edge computing largely depends on its profitability. As the scaling of semiconductor technology reaches its limits, heterogeneous and domain-specific computing becomes essential to keep IT infrastructure cost effective. Another key element of future heterogeneous computing paradigms is computing storage, which will serve as the essential building block for a cost-effective edge computing infrastructure. Together, edge computing and the cloud will complement each other to form the foundation of the future pervasive computing infrastructure. In the coming years, we can expect to see the continued growth of the cloud in the form of centralized data centers, in addition to the rapid expansion of edge computing.

BN: What are the future implications of a successful edge computing infrastructure?

TZ: The implications of edge computing are far-reaching and will be felt by businesses and consumers alike. The ubiquity and performance of edge computing will directly determine the quality of service for everyday consumers, whether through video upload/download speed or query response time. The backbone network and centralized data centers are no longer sufficient to meet the new accessibility and data processing requirements. By ushering in the adoption of edge computing, businesses and end users can expect possibilities like never before.

BN: Where does data storage come into play, both locally and at the edge?

TZ: Of course, as data is collected it needs to be stored, but very quickly the attributes of that storage become important considerations. The operating envelopes are very different at the edge, where a 5G mobile station can be found, compared to what is available in a data center or large cloud provider. Power, heat, density, resiliency, and serviceability all vary by distributed infrastructure. But you also face the following problem: when you collect data, it can be very difficult to determine its value until some level of processing has been done to sort high-value data from garbage. Until you establish the value, all data should be treated equally as very important, which dramatically increases the total cost of storage while impacting the efficiency of the entire system. infrastructure.

image credit: ra2studio/

Sherry J. Basler