Q&A with EdgeMicro’s Eric Bozich: The Edge is Here and End-Users are Ready to Bypass Core Data Centers
DENVER, CO & LEESBURG, VA — Eric Bozich is new General Manager at EdgeMicro (as of May 21). Bozich brings a long track record of innovation and achievement with 25 years of experience in telecommunications and the IT industry to EdgeMicro, an edge colocation company launched in 2017 dedicated to delivering on the promise of edge computing. Founded by an elite team with peering, wireless and data center expertise with a simple yet innovative solution, EdgeMicro is deploying hundreds of network-neutral, modular data centers that deliver the scale and flexibility required at the Edge. CAPRE will welcome EdgeMicro to The Seventh Annual Washington D.C. & Mid-Atlantic Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit on September 10 in Leesburg, VA. CAPRE caught up with Bozich to chat about the latest at EdgeMicro as well as the latest at the Edge. According to Bozich, the Edge is here and end-users are ready to bypass core data centers.
CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today, Eric. Tell us about your recent transition to EdgeMicro.
Bozich: I joined EdgeMicro in May of this year as Vice-President and General Manager. This means, for an early stage startup, that I’ve got my fingers in a lot of different pies at this business. My background prior to EdgeMicro was all in telecom; I spent almost 25 years with CenturyLink, Level 3. But at EdgeMicro, we’re very interested in creating a distributed, carrier-neutral, collocation ecosystem. It’s a mouthful, but all of those words are pretty meaningful in trying to flesh out this space that we’re trying to occupy.
CAPRE: Talk to us about those elements of your strategy.
Bozich: Let’s start with the distributed part. We’re creating what we call micro data centers – purpose-built structures, 25x12x12, that we can deploy anywhere. They’re about 50 KW in terms of power density. So, that’s dense enough, but not as dense as you see in bigger data centers. The idea is to go wide and not deep. Our mission is to get content closer to the Edge – closer to the end users, whether that be residential broadband users, enterprise users from the telco and cable world, or wireless subscribers.
CAPRE: Got it. And the next thing is carrier neutral, right?
Bozich: Yes. Most data centers these days adopt that approach, letting tenants or clients inside their data center make decisions about who they physically want to connect to. In our case though, it’s a little different; not only are we trying to be neutral, but in terms of allowing any connectivity provider to participate in this eco-system. Connectivity is a pretty critical part of that eco-system. It doesn’t do us any good to deploy these distributed micro data centers if they don’t connect to anything. What you tend to see is a lot of these larger data center infrastructures deployed in the big peering cities, or even the regional ones. They tend to offer connectivity to the long-haul networks. There’s an important distinction between the long-haul networks and the metro networks.
CAPRE: Why is that so important?
Bozich: Because we’re trying to create a low-latency environment for all of the local subscribers everywhere, and it’s really the local networks that are going to achieve that. We’re trying to bring localized peering into the metro environments. We want to create an ecosystem where those platform operators, content distributors, enterprise customers, or any combination of those can deploy their content in a micro data center and connect directly to end users that are there. Then we want to wash, rinse and repeat in as many locations, big and small, as we can reach.
CAPRE: So part three – Colocation, right?
Bozich: Yes, that’s the product we’re offering. We bring together the eco-system by doing all the heavy-lifting to facilitate making local collocation available in our micro data centers so our clients can connect to the metro networks and local end users.
CAPRE: So it really is about the ecosystem, even out on the edge of the edge.
Bozich: We’re providing a place for all of the content, local networks and end users to come together. We’re creating an environment where all of that can happen and then creating a model that has the ability to deliver these micro data center at scale.
CAPRE: Let’s talk about scalability. How and why is that so important at the Edge?
Bozich: There are multiple dimensions to the idea of scalability at the Edge. It comes back to wide vs deep. I think it also plays into the fact that there are really different definitions for the Edge, or different ways to look at where the Edge is. I think that you have to have some context to really be precise in how you talk about it, think about it and define it.
We’re building a new Edge that we don’t have today. It will come to places that aren’t well served by the cloud core, regional data centers and availability zones that serve us all today. It will be driven by applications that need to be closer to the consumer.
CAPRE: What role do these new Edge markets play in the broader scheme of things?
Bozich: Those markets are going to support the next generation of applications that are going to require more consistent performance or better performance than a Cloud-Core can offer.
CAPRE: And where does EdgeMicro fit in all of this?
Bozich: We’re concentrating on the ability to scale horizontally and take these smaller, targeted types of data center infrastructure deployments, and literally go from selecting a site to commissioning that micro data center in just a handful of weeks or months.
CAPRE: What are you hearing from customers lately?
Bozich: The thing we’re hearing most commonly is this breadth of footprint. Our objective is to deploy hundreds of micro data centers in the next few years. The number one most common thing we hear from the clients we talk to is that they can’t wait for that footprint to materialize. The broader the footprint, the more valuable deploying it becomes to our customers. We’re definitely seeing a correlation between the number of sites and the value they creates for content providers – that would be number one.
The second thing is bandwidth; when I first started engaging in discussions with clients, I was curious about the kind of connectivity and the kind of bandwidth that they’d be needing to connect these micro data centers into the metro and wireless networks. I was thinking it’d be a 10-gig or multiple 10-gig kind of thing. Maybe there’d be 1-gig requirements. But we’re hearing folks want to start at 100-gig and go from there. I guess that’s a little bit surprising.
CAPRE: Do you think that’s a correct forecast?
Bozich: Well, I took a look at the CISCO visual network survey, and their last one predicts that about a third of all traffic is going to completely bypass any kind of core or regional data center infrastructure by 2022. And that’s a pretty big statement. Once I digested that, it all started to make more sense. But I’d say it’s clear customers are saying “we’re interested; we want that breadth of deployment, and we need a lot of bandwidth at those sites”.
CAPRE: So what’s the bottom line when it comes to the Edge, as we prepare for the next evolution of our industry?
Bozich: People have been talking about the Edge for a while; it’s an idea on paper, but it looks to me like it’s getting real. Companies are serious about distributing content and deploying new applications that need lower latency and that’s what EdgeMicro is enabling right now. There’s a growing sense of urgency about it and a lot of the customers we’re talking to are past just being curious. They’re pivoting to wanting to be ready. They want to get moving – before a competitor does, to capture a market opportunity. That pivot is happening.
CAPRE: Got it. We’ll see you and the EdgeMicro in September.
EdgeMicro will be a featured firm at CAPRE’s upcoming Seventh Annual Washington D.C. & Mid-Atlantic Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit on September 10 in Leesburg, VA, on the 11:00 am – 11:45 am panel “The Latest on 5G and Edge Infrastructure.”
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