The growing adoption of digitalization has given rise to new forms of competition and lifestyle improvement for end users. However, more digitalisation also presents significant resource and data processing challenges.

Firstly, a data centre strategy that combines hypers-cale and edge computing into one, or chooses one over the other, is neither cost effective or competitive. It is no longer practical for every connected device or application to use the cloud in the same way smartphones do. Consider the millions of connected artificially intelligent devices, medical equipment, manufacturing robots and VR headsets in use today. The strain on network bandwidth and speed that these devices can pose soon makes sense. In short, it is highly likely that the user experience of such devices will rapidly deteriorate if congestion and latency is not addressed.Going hybrid – the future for data centres

This is why a hybrid strategy – one that welcomes both full hyper-scale (centralized) and edge (decentralized) computing – is so important. If the type of product or service offered is not latency or bandwidth-driven (for example, the billing process after a transaction has been made on Amazon) it makes more sense to host it in the server farm that sits out of town away from the user. Low-level processing, backup or storage are other examples to mention.

However, technologies such as drones, driverless cars and connected fridges are latency-driven products that require more “edges” so that the information can be distributed quicker and the distance between device and data narrowed, thus improving the end user experience. These products produce too much data for it to be processed in a location far away. In order to function effectively and meet the demands of the user, the products need immediate results. This is particularly true of driverless cars.

‘Connected things’ will continue to grow in popularity over the coming years, resulting in an abundance of data being created every single day. Data centre providers will play an important role in helping organisations meet new demands as the data boom continues.

To effectively match user expectations, edge computing and hyper-scale technology must work in tandem. This will provide organisations the ability to leverage the best of both worlds in meeting customer needs effectively while lessening the resulting IT workload and operating costs.

The journey towards a fully hybrid future is inevitably on its way. Organisations and data centre providers alike must be ready to embrace the change, the hybrid change.

Jackson Lee is vice-president of corporate development at Colt Data Centre Services

This article is an extract from a longer feature that will appear in PEi magazine later this month. Subscribe now to be sure of receiving your issue.

Digitalization and data are key topics of the conference programme at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June. For more details click here