How Data Gravity at the Edge Is Beginning to Exert Pull for Business Outcomes

By: Alok Ohrie, President & MD, Dell Technologies India

Alok Ohrie, President & MD, Dell Technologies India

Today, we are thriving in the data era. New-age data-intensive technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics and the Internet of Things are becoming the primary choice of applications and businesses are investing heavily in them. This shift has led to the need to leverage this data, forcing organizations to design a new set of IT architecture that revolves around the concept of data gravity. Data gravity is an idea based on Newton’s law of universal gravitation, to describe the phenomenon representing the number and the speed at which services, applications, and even customers are attracted to data. Applications today easily get attracted to the huge chunk of data, which possess relatively much more mass as compared to the applications and service software.

Over the past few years, cloud computing has emerged as a major center of data gravity alongside traditional IT environments. Now, with the pervasiveness of data, we are also starting to see the emergence of yet another center of data gravity – the edge. The primary reason edge computing platforms are becoming centers of data gravity is because of the nature of the applications being deployed. Edge computing applications encompasses use-cases that are latency-sensitive – augmented and virtual reality experiences to artificial intelligence (AI) models that leverage computer vision to automate manufacturing processes or employ video surveillance. They need access to large amounts of data close to drive a business outcome real-time.  Of course, individually each of those edge-computing platforms is not going to exert the same amount of gravitational pull on data as a cloud or local data center. However, collectively they will become a significant force.

Creating value for businesses:

Data is now ubiquitous. It is generated and consumed everywhere. Specific to the edge, not all data generated is worth saving. It is only when the state of data changes, it brings in more value to businesses. Data creation programmatically drives a series of automated processes that in turn create additional data. The added data can then be fed into analytics engines deployed at the edge to drive decisions real time. Edge computing will be the channel through which physical and virtual worlds converge. This will create an ecosystem of data around which multiple business use cases will revolve – providing better customer experience to drive new streams of revenue or enhancing the safety of employees.  

Moreover, the quality of data being collected has a direct impact on the reliability and quality of both the application experiences delivered and processes being automated. Not only is it pivotal for organizations to ensure the integrity of the data, which is critical for applications and processes, they also need to make sure that data is being employed consistently across the extended enterprise. After all, a significant amount of time, effort and money went into collecting petabytes of data and the return on the investment (ROI) is ultimately going to be determined by the number of business complexities that the data drives.

Maximizing the value of data:

Thus, in this evolving technology landscape, the sheer volume of data is overwhelming the capacity of IT infrastructure to manage and extract maximum value out of it. Organizations need to know more about how to maximize the value of data. There is no one size fits all approach to data and edge use cases vary widely. It is also witnessed that too many organizations are heading down a path where they develop edge-specific technologies, operations, and architectures independently from those that already exist in their local data centers and the cloud. The further organizations go down this path, the less likely they will be able to absorb innovations, contain costs, maintain security, and avoid vendor management. Hence, in this competitive landscape, to provide the best-in class experience to their customers, organizations need to manage data effectively, from the edge to the cloud to extract maximum value. Massive amount of gravitational force will be exerted by this unchallenged data growth, and it will be engrossing to witness which organizations successfully come out of this complex web of data pull and lead the data era.