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Key Criteria for Evaluating Edge Colocation Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Edge Colocation Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Ability to Execute Within Target Market
  7. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  8. Analyst’s Take
  9. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

The rapid rollout of 5G networks, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), cloud gaming, the internet of things (IoT), real-time analytics, and smart buildings, homes, and cities fundamentally changes how data is processed, managed, secured, and accessed. Furthermore, trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic—such as decentralization and work from anywhere (WFA)—enable businesses to shift operations from expensive, congested metros to more rural areas to take advantage of lower costs and an empowered workforce.

Moreover, the global expansion of internet infrastructure and the growth of core markets is driving demand for the creation of new infrastructure locations at the edge and in strategic and difficult-to-access places. Irrespective of where businesses are located or the emergence of new use cases, demand for enhanced digital experiences ingesting massive amounts of information requires increased performance with high-speed, high-volume data transfer.

The Linux Foundation’s Open Glossary of Edge Computing defines edge computing as “the delivery of computing capabilities to the logical extremes of a network in order to improve the performance, security, operating cost, and reliability of applications and services.” Offering lower latency and increased performance, edge data centers can create new value chains that significantly enhance an organization’s competitiveness.

However, building, provisioning, maintaining, and administering hundreds of edge data centers scattered across a region—or the world—is beyond the capabilities of most enterprises. While cheaper to build and operate than a traditional data center, a geographically dispersed network of edge data centers requires careful planning and robust distributed data analytics, operations, and security so as not to diminish—or negate—the potential cost savings and improved efficiencies that edge offers.

On the other hand, edge colocation allows enterprises to take advantage of shared facilities managed by experts. Located close to underserved markets, edge colocation infrastructure resources deployed in highly connected data centers provide the ability to cache dynamic content, offer a better streaming experience, and reduce bandwidth costs. Moreover, by bundling analytics, compute, and storage into a smaller footprint protected by multilayer security, edge colocation makes it easier for businesses to scale operations in Tier II and III markets.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the edge colocation market and highlight providers that excel. This Key Criteria report identifies capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and non-functional purchase requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an edge colocation provider. The corresponding Radar report provides an overview of notable edge colocation providers and their capabilities. Together, these reports offer essential insights for optimizing workload distribution, helping decision-makers evaluate providers before deciding where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.