How Storage at the Edge will Power 5G

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Published on 17 Mar 2023, 23:05
How ready is the world for 5G? While apps, devices, and more claim 5G-readiness, networks are scrambling to deliver. True 5G depends on edge computing: data being closer to customers, anywhere in the world.

Requirements of edge data centers
Networks are mobilizing to bolster edge data centers, particularly their storage. SSDs are growing in number at the edge, since they scale quickly and provide predictable Quality of Service. Content delivery networks (CDNs) and IoT applications are largely dependent on SSDs. In both cases, data is rapidly created and stored locally, feeding into the local edge node and ultimately going out to the cloud. Data is often synchronized to another local data center. For CDNs, more data is stored locally on the edge for rapid access. For IoT, more data is created locally and distributed upstream for later access. Storage performance needs to be incredibly fast, since huge volumes of streaming data are taken in from the IoT apps. Data comes in and out equally quickly. Edge drives should be able to ingest data at volume and deliver with stability, reliability, and minimal latency for real-time application processing. CDNs are also under stress. Consumer TV and VOD content, as well as live streaming apps, are putting a tremendous burden on networks to deliver seamless, uninterrupted media.

The importance of edge data centers in high population areas
In big metro areas with high demand, CDNs need to store content closer to population centers. For example, an individual livestreaming or streaming a movie on Netflix should have content coming from a data center as close to the users who request it. In other words, for efficient data transfer, the population of the Los Angeles metro area shouldn’t be getting their data from New York or Kansas. SSDs are vital to this distributed model, as the applications are doing a lot of read-only processing. Livestreamers have audiences that predominantly only watch with minimal interaction. That’s more reading than writing. Regardless of video consumption or creation, CDNs and service providers need enterprise SSDS which deliver consistent performance.

Latency and edge data centers
Latency is most noticeable in edge data centers. Movies typically take about three seconds to start playing on CDNs. If they take 30 seconds, client frustration will spike. Latency can happen anywhere in data transmission, but it can be fought by changing how we access data in storage. Latency in SSDs is mainly addressed through firmware, but hardware features like big DRAM caches can help us smooth out delivery. Maintaining QoS requires both software and hardware design. Edge networking providers must pay attention to performance consistency, as with more devices, consumers, and data flowing through the networks at a given time, edge service providers want their SSDs and their entire stack to scale performance consistently with an increased workload.

The death of mega centers
Some analysts predict the death of mega centers. With 5G, data has to be spread out across the network, not a single data center. Data centers around the world must work in redundancies, providing the same content, applications, and data across the network. To achieve this, many edge networks will likely experience rapid storage bloat. Data demand will continue to grow at exponential rates, and edge data centers won’t be able to keep up without increasing storage capacity. The power of edge computing is enticing for networks, data center managers, and consumer applications and services. But with millions of people and devices creating, storing, accessing, and synchronizing data from one edge to another, it’s also incredibly complex. That’s why it’s increasingly important to start with the right SSDs as a foundation, and work out to every edge, to ensure consistency of performance across the entire network.
Whether you’re choosing SSDs for an edge data center or simply for personal use, #KingstonIsWithYou.