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Why the Future of Digital Experiences is at the Edge

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I recently spoke about why the future of digital experiences is at the edge during a presentation at the GDS CIO Digital Summit on Creating Innovative Digital Experiences.

By 2025, Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of a traditional data center or cloud. Why? Because processing at the edge fits perfectly into the objectives and goals of digital transformation — improving efficiencies, productivity, speed to market, and the customer experience.

So, where did this trend of moving workloads to the edge begin?

The move to the edge started with caching and performance optimization and progressed into security with Web Application Firewalls (WAF).

The battlegrounds are now in DDoS Mitigation and Bot Management. DDoS is primarily a scale problem but requires highly skilled engineers to operate scaled networks. Bots, on the other hand, are continuously evolving and getting more sophisticated every day.

But why stop at protecting websites? The trend towards Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) leaves the “corporate perimeter” concept behind in favor of applying the principles of web security to the entire enterprise.

From there, application services like API Gateways, performance optimization, and, more interestingly, data persistence will move to the edge, which is already being seen with key-value storage at the edge. This effectively provides globally distributed in-memory storage like a globally distributed Memcached or Redis.

What’s next? Fully edge-enabled databases – where physical data location will be no more relevant than where email or Google docs are located.

So, now that we’ve got all the primitives we need at the edge; compute, storage, and security solutions, with persistence built on top of them, we’re looking at edge-enabled developer platforms that will work seamlessly with edge-enabled frameworks to drive user experiences and developer productivity.

Teams that use edge-enabled frameworks like Next and Remix will lead the charge. These frameworks provide developer-friendly integrations with the edge for things like localization, personalization, A/B testing, and even prefetching at the edge.

A study by McKinsey showed that companies in the top quartile of the Developer Velocity Index outperformed others in the market in revenue growth rate by five times.

And, in a world where software continues to eat the world, companies that leverage edge-enabled platforms to ship fast software faster will eat the competition.

The future of digital experiences is at the edge. The edge provides the performance, security, and reliability needed to deliver innovative and personalized experiences. Leveraging the edge reduces costs and latency. It shields critical infrastructure and absorbs increasingly enormous attacks. And finally, it provides greater reliability by offering better routes or “fast lanes” between users and the data they’re accessing.

– Howie Ross, Senior Director of Product Management


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