As part of its international expansion, EdgeConneX is building a 6MW ‘edge’ data center in central Toronto, expected to come online in early 2018. 

Including the new facility, the company has established a total of 40 such data centers across North America, South America and Europe. It is also responsible for the deployment of 3,000 smaller edge cells and points-of-presence (PoPs).

Toronto skyline
Toronto skyline – John Vetterli/Wikimedia Commons

To edge or not to edge

The company says the facility in Toronto is highly connected, offering clients access to carrier networks, Internet exchanges, content delivery networks, cloud service providers, gaming and IoT platforms.

Edge computing refers to the practice of placing data centers where the compute power is most needed, usually close to the location of the end-user. This reduces latency for tasks such as media streaming and IoT data transfer.

There has been a push in the industry to promote edge computing, with some experts claiming that the emergence of technologies such as autonomous cars and virtual reality would require that edge data centers be built en masse. 

Clint Heiden, chief commercial officer at EdgeConneX, said: “latency, security, data sovereignty and quality of service are all critical impediments to cloud adoption and content distribution, which in large part is solved by going to the edge.”

However issues of scale, redundancy, lack of availability of cheap property, as well as cooling and power challenges mean that edge computing is likely to be significantly more costly than centralized, more efficient colo and cloud data centers - and cost is usually a key factor for operators and end-users alike.