Datacenter Trends

5G Fuels Datacenter Innovation, Driving It to the Edge

The deployment of fifth-generation wireless networking architectures, known as 5G, is likely to become a key driver of innovation among datacenter service providers and chipset manufacturers, which must adapt to the increased data traffic that 5G will generate.

That's a central finding in a new report by market analysts at Frost & Sullivan, who note that accommodating that data traffic will "require a complete overhaul of their legacy datacenter infrastructure," including migrating from large datacenter infrastructures to smaller datacenters with modular designs.

The report, titled "Growth Opportunities in the Datacenter Test and Measurement Market, Forecast to 2024," cites several sources of this 5G-driven data surge, including the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), connected living, autonomous vehicles and connected cars, and health care applications.

This datacenter overhaul will involve "a substantial degree of network virtualization and software-defined network functions," the report adds.

"At a component level, datacenter service providers are also migrating infrastructure to 100GbE, which will eventually transition to 200GbE and 400GbE and [incorporate] transceivers that are faster and more efficient than its predecessors," the report's authors write.

These developments in the datacenter will also drive demand for testing equipment that can validate transceivers operating at a higher frequency while being compliant with high-speed Ethernet interfaces and solutions that are deployed easily across partially virtualized networks.

Not surprisingly, the growing demand for this type of testing capability in the datacenter is also driving another trend: consolidation among testing companies. The larger operations are acquiring the smaller ones "to fill in the voids in their own testing portfolio," the report states. This consolidation will increase barriers to market entry.

In a related report ("Global Impact of Edge and 5G Technology on Data Centers, Forecast to 2022"), the researchers found that 5G is actually pushing the datacenter more or less physically to the edge in what they call "a silent revolution."

"Edge computing is giving rise to a new wave of data centers that are smaller in terms of footprint and located close to the source," they write.

The rise of the so-called edge-based datacenters is being driven by three factors, they found: latency, growing data volumes and reduction in data processing at large datacenters. "It is of no surprise to find latency being one of the factors as next-gen applications are becoming extremely latency sensitive."

The implementation of 5G will help by enabling data transfer speeds of 1Gb per second. "Our research indicates that edge data centers will complement existing data centers by acting as an additional processing layer located close to the source," they write.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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