This is Part 2 in a series exploring the Equinix approach to digital experiences at the edge:
Part 3: Secure Edge (coming soon)
Digital businesses looking for a more informed approach across their global operations need to aggregate distributed data sets at the digital edge, but they also need the high-performance compute muscle to quickly analyze that data and draw valuable insights from it. When a business has access to the right data in the right edge locations and the right infrastructure to process that data in a timely manner, it forms what’s known as a smart edge environment.
A smart edge allows businesses to pull together data from various devices, user groups and ecosystem partners, so they never have to worry about insights being out of their reach. They can then use these comprehensive data sets to conduct AI-powered analytics. By processing data sets at the digital edge, rather than backhauling data long distances to reach their digital core locations, businesses can keep latency low and thus ensure the accuracy of their AI models.
With the help of Platform Equinix® and our ecosystem of thousands of partners, digital enterprises everywhere can integrate real-time intelligence into every corner of their global operations. In turn, this helps them deliver an exceptional digital experience for end users, wherever those end users may be located. Finally, a smart edge environment can help an enterprise achieve all these goals while also reducing costs and ensuring scalability on demand.
Why a smart edge contributes to better digital experiences
As enterprises seek to establish better, more data-driven user experiences worldwide, building a smart edge environment can be an essential part of the equation.
Businesses must be aware of the specific challenges they face and make smart, strategic decisions to address them. No business can possibly localize all their data sets, nor can they deploy robust compute infrastructure everywhere. Instead, they need to find the right balance. This means identifying the precise data sets they need in order to truly understand the expectations of their end users, and then deploying compute power in the right locations to move, store and process those data sets.
Achieving this delicate balance requires planning and investing based on a holistic digital infrastructure strategy. Businesses that simply invest in digital infrastructure anywhere they might need it will inevitably pay more than they need to and lock themselves into a certain way of doing things. As customer demands shift over time and new markets develop, digital leaders should be able to shift their edge infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively to keep up with that demand. Those that rely on an unplanned, ad hoc approach won’t have the agility and flexibility needed to do that.
In its recent report Building an Edge Computing Strategy, Gartner® spoke about the importance of taking a proactive, strategic approach to edge infrastructure deployment:
“As the edge computing trend grows, synergy across projects and extensibility to enable new use cases is important to ensure efficiency and reduce time to deployment. Enterprises need a strategy so they can overcome and learn from challenges, choose technologies, manage costs and enable successful digital transformation.”
Leading enterprises can go a step further by automating digital infrastructure deployment at the edge. Working with the right partners, they can institute a programmatic approach to getting the storage and compute capacity they need for any given situation, when and where they need it. This ensures they can process the right data sets quickly and get the insights they need to meet changing user expectations, with no manual intervention required.
Finally, a smart edge relies on alternate, redundant networking routes between the edge and the core. This helps improve business resiliency: Applications can keep delivering great results for end users in spite of natural disasters or any other unexpected event that might knock a single connection offline. Once an enterprise finds the ideal network configuration for their needs, they can store it using an Infrastructure as Code tool, allowing them to deploy or redeploy as needed with no potential for human error.
Case study: harrison.ai overcomes healthcare data challenges
The healthcare sector provides a powerful example of how challenging it can be to handle rapidly growing data volumes at the edge, and how much benefit there is for enterprises that can get it right. According to one estimate from RBC Capital Markets, the healthcare industry alone generates 30% of the world’s total data volume. The same research found healthcare data will grow 36% CAGR by 2025, faster than even other data-intensive industries like manufacturing and financial services.
This was the challenge—and the opportunity—facing harrison.ai, an Australia-based healthcare AI platform. The company aims to help healthcare providers keep up with rapid data growth by embracing the transformative power of AI and data analytics at the digital edge. Rather than being overwhelmed by the petabytes of diverse data available to them, harrison.ai wants to help clinicians draw from the insights hiding in those data sets to make better diagnoses faster. The end goal is to get patients into the right treatment plans as quickly as possible, thus enabling better outcomes.
To help achieve these goals, harrison.ai turned to Equinix and its partner NVIDIA. The company announced it will deploy eight NVIDIA DGX A100 systems in an Equinix IBX® data center in Sydney. By pairing the high-power digital infrastructure capabilities of Platform Equinix with the compute density, performance and flexibility of the NVIDIA systems, the company can now develop and deploy more powerful healthcare AI solutions than ever before.
One example is Annalise Enterprise CXR, the first solution from annalise.ai, the company’s new joint venture with I-MED Radiology Network. The new solution provides AI-driven clinical decision support for chest X-rays, with the ability to detect up to 124 different findings.
To learn more, watch the full harrison.ai customer success video:
Why Platform Equinix for smart edge?
Equinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company®, and no other digital infrastructure partner can match the full suite of smart edge capabilities that Equinix provides. For example, our Equinix IBX colocation data centers offer truly global reach, with 250 data centers across 70+ markets on six continents. This means that you’ll be able to deploy in the different edge and core locations that matter to your business, all from the same digital infrastructure platform.
You can also take advantage of Equinix digital infrastructure services, which can provide the right mix of physical and virtual infrastructure for your needs. For instance, the Equinix digital services portfolio can help you create virtual connections on a global scale, deploy compute and storage capacity on demand and stand up network functions from top vendors quickly. Together, these capabilities can help you reach edge locations quicker and deploy the analytics capabilities you need once you get there.
Finally, Equinix offers access to a global ecosystem of 10,000+ customers and partners. Already, this ecosystem includes 456,000+ interconnections as Equinix customers connect with one another to exchange data and unlock new services on demand. As a result, customers get access to new markets quicker and shift from a CAPEX model—which requires high up-front spending and can lock them into infrastructure investments for the long term—to an OPEX model, which supports better cost-efficiency and flexibility for digital infrastructure investments.
Among the partners that make up the Equinix digital ecosystem are the major cloud hyperscalers. In fact, Equinix is the leading interconnection partner for AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure Express Route, Google Cloud Interconnect and Oracle Cloud Interconnect.
Equinix customers can take advantage of these partnerships to enable faster, more effective smart edge environments. For example, using AWS Direct Connect at Equinix, customers can deploy AWS Outposts at the Edge. This can help enterprises build a scalable hybrid cloud experience by extending AWS services and capabilities to the edge. Joint AWS and Equinix customers can use this solution to accelerate cloud innovation, all while running their solutions at the edge, not in the cloud. Equinix also offers similar joint solutions with its other public cloud partners.
To learn more about why you need an edge strategy to extract data-driven insights and enable a better digital experience, read the Gartner report Building an Edge Computing Strategy.
Also, visit our landing page to learn more about how Equinix can help you bring digital experiences to the edge, unlocking new opportunities and competitive advantages in the process.
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