Phill Lawson-Shanks, EdgeConneX Talks the Edge in Europe: It’s Shifting, May Be Relative to IT Deployments

Aug 9, 2018
by Josh Anderson

DUBLIN, IRELAND — The Edge is rapidly changing, and that’s as true in Ireland as in the States. So CapRE’s 2018 Ireland and Emerging European Data Center Markets Summit, the panel The Advent of 5G, Micro Data Centers & Evolution of the Next Generation dived deep into what those changes are. Below, we highlight some of the introductory remarks between Moderator Brian Klebash, Founder of CapRE and panelist Phill Lawson-Shanks, Chief Innovation Officer at EdgeConneX.

data center summit“Let’s start out with the definition of the Edge. Let’s define the Edge,” Klebash suggested. “Definitions run from anything and everything supporting Edge services to a micro data center at a cell tower. Phil, how do you define the edge at EdgeConneX?”

“We define it as the point of demarcation with the lowest latency between a service and consumption of a service,” replied Lawson-Shanks. “So irrespective, or rather dependent upon, what that service is and what is trying to consume it, the Edge could be anywhere and at any given size. So we started by fixing a problem with moving content closer to eyeballs.”

“So the fact that the Edge happened to be in second or third tier markets across North America, is better than in Europe where there is a slightly different challenge, because frankly the network works much better here than over there,” he intimated. “And then the Edge shifted to be small-instances of compute farms. So instead of it being 150 or 200 MW sites out where land is cheap and where power is the cheap, the requirement to bring low latency delivery of online messaging or shared storage was required, so we started building 3 to 5-megawatt sites in markets. So the Edge is really shifting. The next phase of the Edge will probably be relative to IT deployments, on buildings and on cell-towers. And that’s a whole new [take] on the Edge.”

“What are the restrictions of 5G?” asked Klebash in response. “There is a discussion in the U.S. that 5G has limits, for example, it can’t go through glass. Why don’t you tell us about that?”

“5G has a very short throw. So the requirements are going to shift,” he predicted. “Instead of just having cell towers on top of buildings or on top of towers, you’re going to have to have many, many more antennas. Most likely, on top of buildings, on top of light poles. Basically all over the place. And with that there is going to be more information points. So 5G has far more capacity for data, and a shorter throw, so it doesn’t pass through walls.”

“So there’s a whole other set of technologies coming out that are using WiFi infrastructure. And as these things switch between cellular and WiFi, they just transition. But 5G is going to be really interesting. It’s going to enable a huge swatch of new technology that IT, things like autonomous vehicles, that IT hasn’t even decided to develop yet. It will be the driver I think for a lot of augment reality and virtual reality, which the next phase of these firms are really taking advantage of,” she concluded.

Banner Photo (L): Phill Lawson-Shanks, Chief Innovation Officer, EdgeConneX

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