It starts with a ‘several-hundred-million-dollar investment’ from the service provider
CenturyLink this week announced a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build out an edge compute network that will serve a wide array of market segments, from hyperscalers and wireless carriers to system integrators and enterprises.
The Lowdown: The announcement comes a week after CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey, on a conference call to talk about quarterly earnings, said the combination of the company’s fiber network and edge computing cloud delivers a differentiated offering for organizations that have a lot of remote locations and the need to quickly process and analyze large amounts of data.
The Details: CenturyLink’s initial plans call for creating more than 100 edge compute locations across the United States that offer an array of hybrid cloud solutions and managed services. The sites will integrate high-performance, low-latency networking with cloud service provider platforms, delivering them in customized configurations.
The goal is to give organizations with increasingly distributed environments an integrated package of compute, storage, and networking that they can use for modern workloads that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
With edge computing, a key factor is low latency – how fast data can be processed and analyzed and how fast it can be moved over the network. CenturyLink officials said the company’s global fiber network will be able to serve local sites within 5 milliseconds. The company currently connects more than 2,200 public and private data centers.
The Impact: CenturyLink is looking to hit all the key points of edge environments, from the low latency and the high bandwidth, as well as the myriad global locations. Businesses for compliance reasons often have to keep certain data within a particular region, so having access to local edge sites is critical. Given this, it’s also increasingly important for channel partners to have a global presence to ensure they can address their customers’ needs.
Background: Edge computing is a highly competitive and fast-growing space, with Grand View Research analysts predicting the market will reach $28.84 billion by 2025, growing 54% a year. The proliferation of IoT devices and the massive amounts of data generated by them are key drivers of the edge, fueled by the growing need to process and analyze that data close to the devices that are creating it.
The Buzz: “Customers are increasingly coming to us for help with applications where latency, bandwidth, and geography are critical considerations,” said Paul Savill, senior vice president of product management at CenturyLink. “This investment creates the platform for CenturyLink to enable enterprises, hypercalers, wireless carriers, and the system integrators with the technology elements to drive years of innovation, where workloads get placed closer to customers’ digital interactions.”
“Digital transformation is gaining momentum as enterprises across all verticals look to technology to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience,” said Melanie Posey, research vice president and general manager at 451 Research. “As business processes become increasingly distributed, data-intensive, and transaction-based, the IT systems they depend on must be equally distributed to provide the necessary compute, storage, and network resources to far-flung business value chains.”