Xconomy, October 1st, 2019
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the first “public cloud” offering third-party data storage and compute services, launched in March 2006, and by 2012, there were multiple credible competitors. The hype was strong. Back then, cloud evangelists were predicting that essentially everything in the enterprise data center would migrate to one of just a few public clouds. And despite the public cloud’s incredible advantages—unlimited capacity and scale, ubiquitous access, and massive redundancy—this hasn’t happened.
That’s because the cloud has an Achilles’ heel: latency. And as a result, there’s an entirely new battle brewing at the metro edge of national data networks, giving players who moved late towards the public cloud an opportunity to dominate a giant emerging market.
The rise of the edge
Public cloud facilities are enormous, so to build them affordably, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) place them in sparsely populated areas with inexpensive land that’s often near cheap, renewable power sources. The data centers can be hundreds, even thousands, of miles from customer locations and, at those distances, even the speed of light isn’t fast enough to provide the rapid response that users and applications require.