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The Enterprise Advantage – Hybrid IT Network at the Edge

One of the biggest challenges enterprise IT managers face today is creating a network environment that will meet current and future needs. In today's business environment, networks have to perform multiple tasks simultaneously for countless employees. The edge may be the advantage enterprise networks need, because they process data closer to the facility and therefore, faster.

An employee may need to pull up many different data sources as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. For example, when a sales representative receives an inquiry from an existing customer they may need to access past files and emails for background, pull previous invoices for pricing, check current inventory, and use their customer relationship management tool to track activity. Satisfying this request requires the use of many different data sources. The network may have the capacity to handle all tasks today, keeping the business on track. However, as an enterprise grows—with more employees and products, increases to the technology stack, or the addition of advanced applications to improve the customer experience—the current network will experience sluggish performance and lag time. An enterprise using edge collocation will have an advantage, because it can more easily scale with the business.

The Enterprise Edge: Key Benefits

Before we go any further, let’s touch on the collocation options currently available. Enterprises can continue to make good use of on-premise or hyperscale facilities. On-premise data centers can be costly to maintain and challenging to staff. Hyperscale facilities have fewer costs associated, but scaling for growth can be costly. The newer and evolving edge collocation model comes with perhaps the most advantages.

With the edge, IT managers can rely on a physical space for storage, but it comes with low latency, extremely high reliability, high-bandwidth savings, and the ability to scale with ease, all with a strong level of control and accessibility. The edge model also allows the use of an off-site collocation space, which is important for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. A hybrid IT model that stores data in an edge facility and has other existing storage, such as on-premise or cloud, allows businesses to remain operational in the event other IT infrastructure is damaged during severe weather or other unforeseen events.

Who Stands to Benefit Most From Edge Collocation?

At American Tower, we’re seeing Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which offer things like website content, video, and audio streaming, make immediate use of the edge. The low-latency environment the edge provides is ideal for CDNs sending audio and video content to users nationwide, including to more remote locations far from core data centers. However, the benefits of the near-zero latency environment extend to several verticals, including online gaming, financial services, healthcare, industry and agriculture, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, transportation, and telecommunications companies, or any industry with a highly distributed geographic footprint.

A few examples:

  • The remote work trend transcends verticals. In the post-COVID era, companies worldwide are exploring hybrid models that offer employees the flexibility to work from home. Enterprises looking for the proper digital infrastructure to advance these efforts can look to the edge for a solution. A report by The Enterprise Project says adopting an edge model supports distributed workforces by reducing volumes of data that need to be moved across the network.
  • Healthcare facilities stand to gain greatly from the edge. The increased use of telehealth options, as well as things like the ability to quickly access a patient’s digital records or MRI, require the low-latency environment only the edge can provide.
  • The edge presents opportunities for retailers. The low-latency benefits of edge collocation help retail operations scale their ecommerce business, as consumers continue to shop for items online.

The Enterprise Edge With American Tower

As enterprises continue to advance digital transformation efforts, they will begin to use even more data-intensive applications that require data to be stored closer to their offices for faster transmission. This makes edge collocation environments ideal for enterprises advancing these efforts.

Technology advancements, such as data-intensive IoT and 5G devices, are driving demand for a more distributed collocation model—meaning if an enterprise doesn’t have an immediate need for the edge it will soon, as these advancements become more commonly used. The number of IoT devices globally is expected to rise from 8.74 billion in 2020 to more than 25.4 billion by 2030. With American Tower’s growing portfolio of edge collocation facilities strategically positioned throughout the U.S., we can ensure enterprises have the necessary infrastructure in place now, so they can access a network that will meet current and future needs immediately.

To discuss how we can help develop your hybrid IT network, please contact us.

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