Where Does Your Base Layer Need To Be? Bandwidth is Only Part of the Answer.

We have been promoting what we hope will be an industry-wide dialogue, “Where does your base layer need to be?” The foundation of any enterprise in the 21st century is its data center infrastructure – what we refer to as an enterprise’s “base layer.” The physical location of an enterprise’s base layer determines latency, power costs, power profile, data center operating and capital efficiency, and a host of other performance metrics.

A digital communication channel is like a highway. The number of lanes limits how many different vehicles can use it simultaneously. The width of the lanes limits the payload of every vehicle passing through it. To move the most vehicles and payload in the shortest possible time, you need wide lanes, and lots of them. But perhaps the most obvious way to get payloads to their destinations more quickly is to move them closer to their destinations to begin with, rather than wait for bigger, wider, longer highways to be built.

Data and applications must be connected with end users through digital communications channels that not only allow the best possible user experience, but are cost-effective as well.

Real-time backups, high-quality multimedia streaming, online gaming and augmented reality require huge bandwidth. And these are not niche services anymore: both their users and the frequency of their usage are growing at an increasing pace. According to Cisco, global internet traffic in 2021 is expected to be up to three times bigger than it was in 2017. The problem is that, similar to highways,  the total cost of moving data is driven by distance as well as by bandwidth.

The obvious consequence is that it makes less and less sense to keep all the content and software in a few big data centers, at the hub, rather than the spoke. A 2017 report showed that moving a workload to the edge may reduce up to 95% of its impact on traffic.

In practice, the best physical location for each workload will be heavily influenced by how much data must be moved, and the actual cost of moving it. Edge computing can help make bandwidth-intensive content an excellent experience for customers as well as sustainable for content and digital infrastructure providers.

If you would like us to explain how we can help you face your own base layer challenges, please e-mail us at [email protected] or call us at 602.783.1151. We hope you’ll be in touch, even if you’re not in the market but would simply like to share your point of view with us.