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Key Criteria for Evaluating Edge Platformsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Edge Platforms Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

Edge platforms leverage distributed infrastructure to deliver content, computing, and security closer to end devices, offloading activity from core networks and improving performance. The key benefit of edge platforms is bringing websites, applications, media, and security services closer to fixed and mobile end devices than other types of on-premises or outsourced infrastructure ever can.

We define edge platforms as the solutions capable of providing end users with millisecond access to processing power, media files, storage, secure connectivity, and related “cloud-like” services from almost anywhere.

From our first evaluation of this space in 2021, we’ve noted that modern edge platforms have evolved from four distinct backgrounds that continue to serve different use cases:

  • Content delivery network (CDN) providers: CDNs entered the edge platform space easily as they own the distributed infrastructure for content delivery purposes.
  • Cloud service providers (CSPs): Compared to CDN providers, cloud providers had a more inverted approach into this space: opening more and more data centers enabled CSPs to create CDN offerings.
  • Telecommunications service providers (telcos): Typically large organizations with built-in geographical reach and large investment funds, some telcos used their in-house expertise and extensive transit networks to expand an edge-focused product portfolio.
  • Dedicated edge: Some players were quick to see the edge platform space as a future market and built their network from the ground up to deliver these services specifically.

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on edge platforms, and the need for content proximity and improved performance has only continued to grow. This year’s report builds on our previous analyses, reflecting the evolution of the market and the impact those changes have on IT decision-making.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective edge platform. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading edge platform offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

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.