Connectivity that unlocks a competitive edge, MTDCs for edge networks

MTDC connectivity edge networks
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The global pandemic has presented unique and unprecedented challenges that reshaped traditional norms of work, business and everyday life, yet it has also opened the doors to a digital revolution that has allowed innovation to flourish at a historical rate. With most countries already back on the road to economic recovery, it is evident that the rapid transformation, supported with a renewed focus on intelligence-driven connectivity, has proven to be a success.

For Asia Pacific, leading the post-pandemic momentum today are high-priority industries that are powered by connected solutions, such as digital healthcare, remote education and smart manufacturing, and e-commerce, as well as food delivery, and smart home services. In fact, it is estimated that the region’s spending on the Internet of things (IoT) will rebound with double-digit growth in 2021, according to an IDC report.

For such exponential growth to be realised, enterprises in Asia Pacific will also require a corresponding boost in data centre processing capacity. More specifically, higher volumes of edge computing power will be needed, to process the increasing amounts of information generated from connected devices at the networks’ edge. The rising adoption of 4G/LTE and 5G networks in addition to increasing adoption of cloud platforms, on top of budgetary commitments from the region’s governments, will contribute greatly to the growth of Asia Pacific’s edge computing market that is expected to be valued at almost US$6 billion by 2024.

Keeping an eye on the edge

As deployments of IoT, 5G, hyperscale cloud and other technologies ramp up, organisations that are pivoting digitally will look towards Multi-Tenant Data Center (MTDC) operators to provide the foundation for a new order of applications powered by ultra-reliable, low-latency performance. Since the next generation of cloud-based applications and services will require physical infrastructure that extends optimally to the edge of the network, MTDC operators need to accommodate the shift in preferences towards decentralised deployments by ensuring that their own backbone infrastructure is robust, flexible, and most importantly, one that has the capabilities to be self-managed.

To stay ahead of digitised economies’ shifting demands, the deployed MTDC infrastructure must be able to quickly power new commercial applications and services for enterprises and also allow seamless adjustment of IT operations.

Therefore, it is important to enable automated infrastructure management that remotely monitors and manages both the physical layer and connected equipment with zero downtime. Today, the need for such automated tools has become non-negotiable as current MTDC infrastructures will only grow denser and more complex, and with human resources becoming increasingly stretched.

MTDCs that are equipped with automated management capabilities will be able to better manage connections to a wide array of cloud, connectivity and service providers securely, and be built in shorter time frames in a cost-effective manner; that in turn supports the market’s diverse requirements for hosting different applications closer to the data sources. Such functionalities further allow customers to scale their go-to-market services and products from Asia Pacific to the rest of the world.

It is also key for MTDCs to consider how to fully take advantage of their location as well as their proximity to areas of dense population. When looking to enable truly interconnected, low-latency edge networks, there must be value-added services provided – such as expert counsel on how the location can better maximise support for customer applications – and more importantly be able to connect efficiently to other organisations that make up the customers’ ecosystems.

The ramping up of 5G and IoT networks will also challenge traditional MTDC models of deployment. With the evolving market opportunities in Asia Pacific, more organisations are looking to outsource their data storage to support high-speed applications and services. It is even more important today for data center operators to have in place adaptable and cost-efficient infrastructure that can support both a smooth off-premise migration to the edge, and also deliver the flexibility that customers need for their future expansion plans.

To ensure that local data can be processed quickly and at lower cost, it is crucial for such infrastructure to also be supported by edge-based IT resources that can be quickly fine-tuned to accommodate diverse and dynamic business requirements. High-density fiber-optic cabling that can accommodate the demand for exponential bandwidth needs will form the core of such an approach. Currently, the drive for greater capacity at the edge has led MTDC operators to consider newer methods of increasing bandwidth and capacity for date center mesh networks, including deployment of parallel fiber connectivity and use of wavelength division multiplexing, where several wavelengths of data are added together while sharing the same physical fiber.

Realizing the edge’s potential

Enterprises, cloud providers and hyperscale customers are locating more capacity and processing power closer to end users, with an increasing edge-first deployment mentality. However, navigating a fast-evolving technological landscape in Asia Pacific is only part of the challenge. For MTDC operators, it is also essential that strategic infrastructure investments are timed correctly, to stay relevant and in line with technology cycles that now change every two to three years.

Already, today’s advances in optical network technologies mean that connectivity speeds beyond 100 Gigabit Ethernet, such as 400 Gigabit and even 800 Gigabit are starting to be adopted. These developments mirror wider trends in 5G and IoT network deployments across the region, and will be underpinned by the need for strategic investments in high-density fiber cable installations and management solutions, not just for MTDCs at the edge, but also at the core of enterprise networks.

Organisations will continue to look to MTDCs to provide the infrastructure backbone and flexible connectivity that can help them keep up with ongoing technological change, respond to a cautiously- recovering landscape and support the launch of their business applications at the edge. To this end, efficient, flexible and simplified infrastructure – built on a robust foundation of structured cabling – will be essential for MTDCs to continue being key partners in Asia Pacific’s economic rebound.

This article kindly submitted by CommScope

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