Want to reduce latency? Opt for an edge data center

Edge computing means processing data as close to its source as possible. With the Internet of Things (IoT) generating vast amounts of data, it will soon become impractical to transport all this data to a central location.

Organizations should prepare for edge computing now, advises Stijn Grove, director of the Dutch Datacenter Association (DDA). “With 5G’s rollout, applications requiring immediate data processing ‘at the edge’ are rapidly emerging. Businesses must plan for this,” he says.

Edge computing handles data right where it’s generated. Think of a motorway on a rainy Monday morning—clogged with traffic. Similarly, central data processing can get congested. But with a micro data center near a 5G transmitter, data can be processed right there, sending only crucial information onward. These are ‘edge data centers.’ Regional data centers, like those managed by NorthC, are also equipped to act as edge data centers. Proximity to the data source is key.


Processing data close to the source

The amount of data we store, process, and transmit has been increasing for years, a trend that will accelerate with 5G and IoT. “The data explosion is massive and spreading across sectors,” says Alexandra Schless, CEO of NorthC. “Consider domotics in homes or healthcare, intelligent streetlights, and traffic systems. All these generate data that can be central or require immediate processing for time-sensitive tasks. Here, low latency is essential, necessitating local processing power.”

Grove concurs, emphasizing the growing necessity to process data close to its origin. He cites the Port of Rotterdam, where countless sensors collect data: “It’s inefficient to process this data far away. Regional data centers are crucial here.” This approach saves network capacity and cuts down latency.


Cost savings

Cost efficiency is another advantage of edge data centers. Since fees depend on the bandwidth used, processing more data locally can lead to significant cost reductions. “Using edge data centers means less back-and-forth data transmission across the network, resulting in substantial cost savings,” Grove explains.


Preparing for the future

Jarno Bloem, COO at NorthC, reports that they are proactively gearing up for edge computing. “Our data centers across the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany are positioned for expansive growth. For example, in the Amsterdam area, we operate four data centers, enhancing our service capability with ample processing power and availability. This regional density means we can offer services that are physically closer to our clients—thus closer to the source of the data we store and process. As a regional data center, our presence in these key locations provides us with an unrivaled ability to facilitate the required connections between different edge locations, optimizing the data processing for our clients by leveraging the full potential of edge computing.