Edge to Continue to Receive Investment Support Over the Next Two Years

The IDC survey found that three-quarters of organizations plan to increase their edge spending over the next two years with an average increase of 37%. A combination of factors is driving this increased spending at the edge.

The performance requirements of expanding workloads and new use cases that leverage AI and ML demand greater compute capacity at the edge. In addition, the amount of data being stored in edge locations are rapidly expanding, and organizations plan to keep this data longer. As a result, the number of physical servers being deployed at the edge is rising. Most of this investment prioritizes the modernization of existing infrastructure in edge locations as opposed to building out new infrastructure.

The survey also found that enterprises deploying edge are highly focused on building scalable businesses with investments that can contribute quickly to the bottom line. The top objectives for edge deployment are increased revenue, improved products and services, and reduced costs. But edge deployments also present important opportunities to fill a niche market or disrupt an existing market.

"Enterprises are signaling that they want the benefits of a cloud operating model with the freedom to deploy anywhere," said Dave McCarthy, research vice president, Cloud, and Edge Infrastructure Services at IDC. "This creates tremendous opportunities for technology suppliers that can reduce complexity and maintain consistency in these distributed environments."

"Edge infrastructure deployments are shifting IT back to a more strategic, influential role within the organization," said Jennifer Cooke, research director, Edge Strategies. "The IT organization is both driving and supporting critical digital-first efforts within the broader organization."

Organizations rank the ability to integrate edge solutions with legacy infrastructure as a key selection criterion and consider it just as important as price in edge decisions. However, edge management strategies are not tightly integrated with cloud and core, suggesting that organizations may need to revise their management strategy as they seek to leverage core, cloud, and edge resources as a cohesive set of flexible resources.

Organizations will continue to deploy and support many different compute, storage, and network architectures at the edge. Being able to deploy in multiple environments is also a key selection criterion, underscoring an organization's continued plan to extend compute resources into many different types of environments, including in cloud and core data centers as well as in the field.

Out of necessity and because of the need to leverage cloud resources, the edge will continue to be a broad mix of cloud, colocation, field locations, and company-owned datacenters. In the next two years, two-thirds of organizations are expected to shift more toward public cloud resources. But overall, all edge types will increase. Regarding equipment ownership, the majority indicated that their organizations prefer to retain ownership of infrastructure. This will fuel greater demand for flexible consumption models that have the opex benefits of the cloud with greater infrastructure ownership and control.

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