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September 20, 2021
By Rob Darby
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a significant shift in the way we consume services and do business. Users expect rapid performance from digital products, whether they’re using web and cloud applications, streaming content, gaming online or using business-critical services.
At the same time, 5G adoption is increasing and driving growth in more complex and mission-critical Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, resulting in a growing number of devices, applications and volume of data. To be successful in this environment, organisations need faster access to data and seamless, high-speed connectivity, regardless of location, making latency and the flow of data increasingly critical.
An increasing number of businesses and service providers are turning to edge computing as the answer, adopting decentralised strategies which enable data, applications and content to be processed and managed at the network edge. And with the worldwide edge computing market predicted to grow to $250.6 billion by 2024, resellers must act quickly to capitalise on the opportunity. But where should you start?
Recognise the opportunity. While edge computing isn’t yet a mainstream technology, it’s highly likely we’ll see mass adoption of edge networking in the future. Enterprises have already embraced mobile and hybrid working models because of the pandemic and will need points of presence in regional data centres that are closer to their users to ensure they have fast, low latency connections wherever they’re located.
Take steps to identify the edge opportunity for your business. This means reviewing your current service portfolio and identifying any gaps that need to be filled to meet changing customer requirements. It also means identifying the sectors and use cases that are likely to be early adopters of edge computing, such as health care and manufacturing, which process a high-level of dispersed data.
Develop a common understanding. Before your organisation can capitalise on the edge opportunity, you need to first understand the technology. Just like the rise of cloud and managed services 10 years ago, edge computing is still a fairly new technology and can mean different things to different people. Some resellers may see edge purely as the end devices on a network, while others may think it’s the endpoint devices on a network. However, it is the edge of public cloud that links to end-user devices.
Make sure you take the time to upskill your workforce to develop a common understanding of what edge computing is. If internal expertise doesn’t exist to do so, identify a partner that can provide the support and training required.
Look beyond public cloud. As cloud adoption has continued to rise, many resellers have focused their portfolio purely on public cloud. However, as data volumes continue to grow, the demand for hybrid and multicloud strategies will increase as businesses look to reduce the costs of storing everything in public cloud.
Revisit your strategy and identify how you can diversify your offering to deliver end-to-end cloud solutions. Consider connecting to an established and scalable national network of data centres and cloud platforms to deliver immediate market impact and revenue growth.
Build an edge network. Developing an edge offering requires connection to the UK’s digital edge. As network traffic increases across a wider spread of geographical locations, data traveling back to one centralised data centre will become congested. An edge networking approach that spreads the load across three or four regional edge data centres will mean data can be …
… processed closer to each end user, reducing congestion on the network and improving latency. This will be an essential requirement for business networks moving forward and a huge opportunity for the channel to lead the way.
The key to success is getting data as close to customers as possible. Therefore, choosing the right infrastructure partner is critical. Resellers need to look for a data centre provider that can provide a good geographical spread of sites across the UK and maximum coverage. In particular, they should look for a provider that can act as connectivity hubs for customers, delivering an agile, high-capacity and low-latency network.
Act as an edge expert. As technology has evolved so, too, have customer requirements. Ten years ago, customers were more aware of what they needed, whether that be a computer, server or switch. However, today many organisations only know what their challenge is, not how to solve it.
With edge computing, resellers have a unique opportunity to become the expert and develop specialist skills and solutions to solve organisations’ challenges. Edge also opens the door to new opportunities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, each of which will continue to grow in complexity. Businesses will be looking for guidance and support on how best to implement edge within their organisation and the channel has a key role to play in guiding them on their transformation.
There’s no denying the opportunity that edge will bring. As we come out of the pandemic, businesses will be searching for new ways to meet increasing demands for faster and more efficient data processing. With the opportunity for increased revenue and margins, resellers need to take control and start building their own edge and multicloud solutions sooner rather than later. If not, they will find themselves losing out to those that do, such as the public cloud providers themselves.
Rob Darby is director of channel sales at Pulsant, hybrid cloud specialists providing secure, scalable and resilient cloud, colocation and networking services in the U.K. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @PulsantUK on Twitter.
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