From Core to Edge to Experience, EdgeConneX and NetFoundry Connect the Dots

By Cynthia S. Artin, Contributing Writer  |  November 05, 2018

As we follow the evolution and changing definitions of “edge computing” and adjacent spaces, including edge data centers (or “microdatacenters”) and software-defined networking technologies that together make it possible to support the growth of our hyperconnected world, new deals are being announced, especially in the context of IoT and real-time rich communications.

Tackling the edge is hard, given completely different requirements for compute, storage, latency, quality-of-service, security, extension of battery life for constrained devices, and more.

It is not feasible to ship data between the edge and cloud, technically or economically, so hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, are being invested to solve for everything from routing and caching to security and spectrum, local analytics and closed-loop systems enabling more automation and control, as well as connections to not just one but multiple clouds for more centralized data and analytics run on that data.

If all politics are local, then all computing is becoming hyperlocal, and bringing compute closer physically to the edge, and making that compute and storage, networking and security affordable has enormous potential to finally unlock a lot of the value of IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) – in smart factories, smart homes, smart cities and smart regions.

While the very smart analysts at 451 see this massive transformation and movement towards the edge as an evolution that could take 5 or 10 or 15 years, it may be the nimbler companies who can make moves faster.

“We are bullish on the edge opportunity for micro-modular datacenters, including for integrated IT datacenter products via supplier partnerships (and with remote management services in the mix),” 451 said in a report. “At the same time, IoT gateways/systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more compute, storage and analytics. At the near edge, colocation providers are dominating – their focus is on developing properties into connectivity-rich multi-MW datacenters with a 15-plus-year investment timeline. This may change for top-tier metro markets in the next 5-10 years (or sooner) if cloud giants follow through on a strategy of building additional capacity or shift existing capacity to their own datacenters (along with new investments in dark fiber). It is unclear how far the cloud giants will reach into the 'true' edge where telcos will become either key players or key partners.”

Recently, two “challenger” companies – EdgeConneX and NetFoundry – announced they are going to market together with an edge computing and communications solution.

Edge ConneX provides space, power and connectivity specifically designed for the edge, supporting greater quality of content delivery, and IoT/IIoT implementations. “With EdgeConneX,” the company says, “data delivery is optimized by placing Edge Data Centers, Edge Small Cells and Edge PoPs at the most critical locations – as close as possible to the end user’s point of access.”

They claim that, with their services, digital content can be delivered “with enhanced performance and lower latency to any device, anywhere,” and in the last four years have built 31 edge data centers in North America and Europe, with plans to extend the Edge into South America, with a first edge data center in Argentina.

The have also deployed more than 3,000 national locations across their Edge Wireless and Edge Pop portfolio, with a proprietary database of a stunning 4 million buildings, 14 million businesses and 200,000 cell towers they “collectively use in partnership with customers to determine the most optimal site for our next build.”

NetFoundry, a company launched in 2016, supported by Tata Communications (News - Alert), announced with EdgeConneX they are now deploying their Internet overlay solution in all of those data centers, bringing customers a “secure, agile, software-only connectivity solution, dynamically extending their network anywhere, on-demand, to support multi-cloud, IoT, SaaS (News - Alert) and Extranet requirements.”

NetFoundry specializes in Application Specific Networking, which works across multiple clouds and supports distributed applications, not as an SD-WAN, but as a software defined connectivity platform and networking service.

Together the companies will accelerate multi-cloud connectivity between edge data centers, where more localized compute, storage and security can be support, while at the same time providing private, direct connections popular cloud and IoT service providers, including Microsoft (News - Alert) Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) others.

According to Rightscale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report, over 95 percent of enterprises use cloud and over 80 percent have a multi-cloud strategy. However, security to the cloud continues to be a challenge for over 75 percent of enterprises, along with cloud related spend.  Meanwhile, Cisco’s (News - Alert) latest Global Cloud Index predicts that, by 2021, more than 95 percent of data center traffic will be to and from the cloud. Addressing all these challenges means a new networking solution is required to better enable secure, cost effective, high performing access to multiple cloud providers globally.

By collaborating with next-generation application-specific connectivity enablers like NetFoundry, EdgeConneX helps enterprises maximize the benefits, while at the same time minimizing the impediments and concerns of using the cloud.  With private, dedicated access to leading cloud providers from EdgeConneX data centers via the NetFoundry platform, customers have the peace of mind of an economical, flexible and high-performance networking solution.

“By deploying NetFoundry’s platform throughout EdgeConneX’s global Edge Data Centers, we are helping bring a better cloud locally to enterprises,” explains Phillip Marangella, Chief Marketing Officer, EdgeConneX.“Whether it’s cloud, IoT, or SaaS applications, proximity increasingly matters for both service providers and end users, so having NetFoundry’s solution available at the Edge will benefit both.”

“It’s important for enterprises to have readily available access to cloud service providers,” adds Galeal Zino, CEO of NetFoundry. “NetFoundry’s collaboration with EdgeConneX is a major milestone toward enhanced connectivity at the Edge of the network, bringing direct cloud access where it’s needed most. Our software-only, global platform drives cloud adoption throughout the enterprise community with unmatched agility and simplicity. We look forward to providing EdgeConneX customers the necessary means to achieve instant, fast, and reliable connectivity to mission-critical cloud services.”

The first market that NetFoundry service will be available is in Portland.  Further expansion across the EdgeConneX data center network of Edge Data Centers is planned for later in the year and in 2019.

Edited by Erik Linask