Major Players Test Edge Computing Business Models

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While Crown Castle and Vertical Bridge among others are investing in data center technology, the business model for edge computing is not 100 percent defined just yet, according to a recent article in Light Reading.

Joe Reele, vice president, Datacenter Solution Architects at Schneider Electric, which sells data center technology to all players, says two approaches are emerging. Some businesses will choose to enter into the data center business themselves, while others will choose to lease space to those with data center expertise. It will come down to which one is more profitable.

“This is why it is the year of the pilot,” said Reele.

According to Phil Olivero, Crown Castle’s vice president of technology, the company has invested in edge compute infrastructure vendor Vapor IO, and the approach, for now, will be to lease space and power at its towers and elsewhere for edge computing to happen, and also sell network connections to those sites.

“We have 40,000 towers that are located at the edge of the wireless network, where it connects to the wired network, and we have space at the base of those towers that serve as a perfect place to put edge data centers,” said Olivero. “Our focus is on being an enabler of this technology, but it is still very early innings on this opportunity.”

In Vertical Bridge’s case, they’re taking a slightly different approach. Partnering with DataBank Ltd. to build micro data centers on its tower/broadcast sites and in the 6,000 buildings to which it has exclusive rights, the company will be selling to carriers, content owners and more, says Bernard Borghei, executive vice president of operations and co-founder of Vertical Bridge.

“We are the owners of the largest portfolio of broadcast towers in the country and the broadcast sites come with a lot of land,” said Borghei. “All of our sites have their LTE deployment and through the radio stations that operate on them, we have fiber. There is power available; there is land, there is fiber, there is water for a cooling system…[we] decided we would be able to use our sites and deploy these modular, scalable edge micro data centers right at the edge of the network.”

August 14, 2018

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