For starters, edge data centers are going to face serious space and power constraints, because they must be built close to large metro areas, which means real estate will be very expensive. As a result, these facilities will be small, putting a premium on both space and power. Traditional storage boxes are too large and power-hungry to address the data needs of the edge within these limits.
Then there’s the issue of distributed storage, because the applications at the edge aren’t going to interface with just a single edge facility. Autonomous vehicles, for example, will need to communicate effortlessly with multiple facilities as it moves in and out of range, and data will need to follow them. That’s difficult enough to do with a single vehicle; imagine when there are millions of self-driving cars on the road. Most traditional storage systems aren’t even fully ready to leverage the cloud, so they’re definitely not capable of managing this level of distributed and interconnected storage.
Read the 451 Research Business Impact Brief: Getting Competitive at the Edge
ClearSky: Storage at the edge
Storage at the edge needs to be compact, efficient, distributed and highly connected. That’s exactly what the ClearSky service provides.
- Space: ClearSky’s Smart Tiered Caching™ technology means that only hot data — which typically accounts for 10% of the data set — needs to be cached at any given edge facility. In this way, 100 TB of local storage in an edge facility can represent 1PB of usable storage. Both hot and warm data stored in a nearby point of presence close enough to provide sub-millisecond latency, and the full data set (including cold data) is ultimately stored in a backing cloud.
- Power: Likewise, because we can represent the full data set with just a fraction of the capacity on-site, power requirements are far less than they would be for a traditional array. In addition, because we’re only caching a small subset of the data locally, we can afford to do so on the latest solid-state storage, which provides both better performance and energy efficiency than spinning disks can.
- Distribution and connectivity: ClearSky’s service ensures data is where it needs to be when it needs to be there, and it operates over dedicated private lines, which improves both performance and security.
We’re already providing the data layer for a number of edge deployments, including a facility in the Boston area at the base of an SBA Communications wireless tower. We’re also members of the Kinetic Edge Alliance, an industry group whose goal is to make it easy to design, deploy and operate workloads on the edge.
When it comes to providing the data layer at the edge, ClearSky’s got it covered.
Interested in learning how ClearSky can help provide the data layer for your edge workloads? Sign up for a free demo.