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How Regional Data Centers Complement Edge Data Centers

Wireless network architecture can be complex with different layers. With the increased demand for edge data, a new alternative to the traditional infrastructure, and varying definitions of edge on the market today, making the right choice can be challenging. When you build a new home, the foundation must be poured before the framing can occur, then drywall can go up. Each step and the sequence of events are critical to the structural integrity of the home. This concept can be applied to the data center industry, in particular, what’s happening with the onset of edge data centers. While edge data centers are becoming more in demand, regional data centers, like our facility at 55 Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta, also play a critical role in connecting users at the edge.

To understand the sequence of events that will lead to the edge becoming more available and how regional data centers like ours will contribute, let’s first examine the different data center models.

Core, Regional, and Edge Data Centers

The data center landscape is made up of core data centers, regional data centers, and distributed, or edge, data centers. At the most basic of levels, each can be defined in the following ways:

  • Core data centers are large facilities and are often found in major data center markets, like Silicon Valley or Ashburn, Virginia. In our home-building analogy, the core data center would be the foundation.  
  • Regional data centers, like Colo Atl, are more modest in size and are typically located in major metropolitan markets. This would be the framing of a home. 
  • Edge data centers are smaller and are popping up in decentralized areas. Edge data centers, like the American Tower Edge Data Center in Ben Hill, which was recently launched by our parent company American Tower, will be a key component of data center transformation. Edge would be the drywall. 

Demand for edge data centers is growing because of the rise of data-intensive applications and the increased benefits of locating closer to the end user. With more aggregation points at edge data centers around the U.S., users can transmit data faster—ideal for low-latency applications. Managed service providers offering connectivity colocation to enterprise customers are early adopters of edge data centers. Data can be shared faster with businesses located in more suburban areas because the facility is closer, where data is being generated and utilized. In addition, IT staff won’t have to travel as far to the edge data center to examine their equipment. 

The image below demonstrates the sequencing. First, data is transmitted from edge data centers, then it’s aggregated back to regional facilities, like Colo Atl, then the data ties back to core facilities. Each part is essential to the home with a symbiotic relationship to the other.  


This sequence is more cost effective because data isn’t being routed through several towers. 

The Role of Regional Data Centers With the Rise of Edge Data Centers

You can’t go from step one to step three without taking step two. Regional data centers, like Colo Atl, are the important step two in the evolving data center sequence. While the edge data center market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% between 2020 and 2026 according to Global Market Insights, the responsibility of regional facilities is as high as ever because data must pass through them. Edge data center customers also have a responsibility to examine where their data passes through.

The American Tower Edge Data Center in Ben Hill and Colo Atl provide a perfect sequence for customers. Data extends from the Ben Hill market to the Colo Atl facility, offering great cross connects and interconnectivity with major mobile network operators. In some cases, the sequence can work in the opposite way, and data can be sent from Colo Atl to the Edge Data Center in Ben Hill. 

The Colo Atl Promise

At Colo Atl, we’re committed to helping our customers with their connectivity needs, whether at the edge or in a more traditional facility. We offer top-notch customer service in an affordable, carrier-neutral environment that is safe and secure.

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