Edge Data Centers: Recent European Deployments and Looking Ahead to MWC19

We are just a few days away from Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona and the big themes are already taking center stage – 5G, IoT and automotive being a few of them.

As Tom Burns, SVP and GM of Networking & Solutions, mentioned earlier this week, 5G is not simply an evolution from 4G. 5G requires massive transformation and demands new distributed architectures. Simply put, in addition to internal operational efficiency and scalability, 5G needs edge computing to reduce latency and drive real-time, automated decision-making.

Our Extreme Scale Infrastructure (ESI) team has been an active leader in the edge data center space for years as multiple industry definitions of the “edge” have emerged and continues to be debated. Last year, we were at MWC with an edge data center proof of concept that was being tested in the field. This year, we head into MWC after completing multiple edge data center deployments, most recently in Europe with additional deployments planned throughout Europe and the Middle East within the next six months. We’re excited to share our successes and lessons learned as well as what we expect for 2019.

Edge Data Centers & Intelligent, Connected Cars

The latest EMEA edge data centers from ESI will help a major global automotive manufacturer with its intelligent connected vehicles (ICV) strategy. Initially they’ll be using the data to improve vehicle performance, reliability and driver experience. Later, when 5G networks are ubiquitous, this global automotive manufacturer will use this new knowledge base to launch a new generation of semi-autonomous vehicles.

As with many automotive companies, there are often hundreds of vehicles on the road in any given location, each outfitted with hundreds or thousands of IoT devices that are collecting hundreds of gigabytes of data or more each day. In this initial phase, the automotive firm is tracking car speed and motion, collecting maintenance and safety data, and discovering potential manufacturing defects. In most instances this data set is too large to transfer to the cloud or centralized data center in real-time and thereby can benefit from edge inferencing with local review and analysis of the data.

To complement its cloud strategy, our ESI team helped design edge data centers for this automotive company and we deployed them closer to where the data is being generated. This allows data to be offloaded from the vehicles quickly for further processing locally. The aggregate of this locally processed data is then available for engineering teams to review whether at the edge or from the cloud.

The automotive company needed a total solution that is flexible enough to place in multiple geographic locations, many of which have extremely unforgiving environments with outdoor temperatures ranging from -35 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, they had to design their IT infrastructure to retain raw data for multiple years due to varying country specific regulatory requirements.

Dell EMC’s micro Modular Data Centers (MDCs) incorporate all facets of a traditional data center: IT, power, cooling, controls, management and security. It features a single IT 48RU rack solution, with Dell EMC scale-out servers, enterprise-class switches and a Dell Embedded PC that collects and transmits data for analysis and problem solving. As part of the deployments, Dell EMC is working with geographically located service and maintenance providers as part of the ongoing facilities management of the data centers.

Onto MWC Barcelona 2019

A similar micro MDC will be on display at the Dell Technologies / VMware booth at MWC Barcelona this month (Hall 3, Stand 3M11). The edge data center will feature an updated design and will showcase edge initiatives across Dell Technologies, showing the flexibility in design to support a variety of edge workloads. We’ll also have new demos including:

  • Project Dimension: showing how VMware and Dell EMC are bringing the operational efficiency and agility of the public cloud to the edge
  • Telehealth Demo: showing how Dell EMC, VMware and Telenor are working together to enable telemedicine over 5G networks
  • Management Demo: showing how to monitor and manage multiple edge data centers in remote locations

With the edge ambiguous to many, we encourage you to stop by the Dell Technologies / VMware booth to see how we design edge data centers as flexible building blocks that take into consideration unique site and geography, IT workload and local regulatory requirements. The designs are adaptive to brownfield or greenfield facilities and can be tailored to accommodate diverse workload needs.

Safe travels to everyone attending, and we hope to see you there!

About the Author: James Mouton

James Mouton is senior vice president and general manager for the Extreme Scale Infrastructure (ESI) division at Dell EMC. This division has dedicated resources to support the unique infrastructure needs for our largest customers. James and his team are responsible for ensuring the tools, resources, processes, relationships and pipeline are in place to grow the business while exceeding customer requirements for scale, flexibility and performance. Prior to joining Dell EMC, James was a 25-year veteran of HP where he held a variety of key leadership positions. Most recently, James was the senior vice president and general manager of the Business PC Solutions organization in the Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) group where he was responsible for product development and customer experience for business client solutions worldwide. James also oversaw the Commercial PC, Consumer PC and Premium PC businesses in previous roles. Before joining the HP PC organization, Mouton was the chief technologist for the Technology Solutions Group (TSG) and he also served as the senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Industry Standard Server business where he drove server growth in worldwide market share. Before joining HP, James worked with Texas Instruments in their Electronic Defense Systems Business. Based in Houston, Texas, James has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.