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, are the latest signs of the trend towards constant IT infrastructure modernization. The trend towards decentralization is becoming increasingly apparent.
Edge data centers are DC-Datacenter-Group GmbH's (DCG) answer to the changing global and local IT challenges. Jörgen Venot, Head of Sales and Marketing at DCG, knows the hurdles and options the future holds.
The cross-industry requirements to collect development and manufacturing data on a large scale while 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 are entering the market with new approaches. The Google Distributed Cloud, for example, is a novel concept that combines cloud infrastructures, edge computing and data centers.
"The developments and demands from the industry sectors show that the cloud does not represent a universal solution for all companies. As a digital pioneer from the field, our claim at DCG is to deliver individual solutions to each customer. Depending on the industry, the structural requirements vary greatly with regard to future technologies. From autonomous driving in the automotive industry to the use of autonomous drones for inventory in logistics," explains Jörgen Venot.
Increasing resource requirements as a result of digitalization and concepts such as IoT, smart cities or 5G require new ways of thinking for data center and cloud providers. Economic drivers for success are stronger performance in the handling of extensive data volumes with low latencies, better scalability, cost reductions as well as data security and data sovereignty. 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 covers the protection of personal data, but not machine data. Contractual safeguards ensure that only the respective companies are allowed to use data, not the provider.
Where centralized architectures reach their limits, new opportunities open up for decentralized approaches. Edge is already the driver of digital transformation for 62% of German companies, according to the results of the IDC (International Data Corporation) study (1). Driven by the complex requirements, DCG's goal is to ensure advanced concepts for global availability.
Decentralization of data generation and analysis at the edge of the network enables more energy-efficient data transfer rates through shortened paths. Reduced latency in milliseconds allows new applications while maintaining high data security. "For us, Edge is a secure and sustainable solution for all companies that work just-in-time and want to evaluate their data on-site. Implemented projects of globally operating automotive suppliers and EDEKA, for example, show how system-relevant decentralized edge solutions are for high availability," explains Venot. The industry study by the Energy Efficient Data Centers Network (2) outlines that demand is increasingly tending toward smaller, decentralized edge data center solutions.
DCG's edge solutions have grown with diverse project requirements. Completed projects in Africa, Latin America, Belgium, Russia, China or the USA reflect the portfolio as well as the global competence network of system integrators. According to Jörgen, there are three user cases to be classified:
Service-oriented edge data centers (Industry 4.0)
Seamless networking for complex IoT applications brings new challenges. Large amounts of data must be collected and analyzed in real time. As a result of these developments, the edge microdatacenter is proving to be a compact solution. Consisting of an edge rack, it is space-saving and can be set up autonomously. The core of this solution is the DC-IT Safe from the subsidiary RZproducts.
Container Equipment (Distributed)
The DC-IT Container as an edge distribution solution is designed for higher computing power and has twice the capacity of the DC-IT Safe. The goal is to reduce complex IT structures for 5G providers through a service-oriented architecture. The individual container services are geographically distributed depending on the company locations, but interconnected. On-site data security is guaranteed.
Classic data centers
The Big Data strategy of Smart Cities is focused on improving living standards through innovative technologies as well as decentralized working. For this purpose, edge data centers are deployed and connected to central data centers. Modular deployment ensures a data-centric IT infrastructure, which is a basic requirement for the emergence of smart cities.
Editor's note: This press release was initially published as a technical article under the title ‘Rethinking IT organization and infrastructure as decentralized – data center 4.0‘ in dotmagazine 11/2021.
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