The Enterprise Distributed Edge: The Next Wave of Digital Transformation
The world is powered by applications. They improve the way we work, learn and connect, and they solve some of the biggest challenges in our society. As people have come to accept that there is a digital element interwoven into nearly every aspect of life, they have also come to expect more from the technology they consume. Whether at work, at the doctor or even paying their utility bills, they want more speed, better reliability and richer user experiences. This is especially true as the workforce welcomes Gen Z— the first generation to grow up with pervasive access to internet and computing resources, social media, smartphones and media streaming.
To fulfill the skyrocketing demand for superior digital experiences and to continue delivering new technology that improves our world, we need people to keep dreaming and inventing and exploring and experimenting. While much of this may come from the known tech giants, life-changing innovation can — and should — emerge from companies of all sizes across all industries and cultures.
But having worked alongside many amazing innovators, including NS1 customers and partners, I've seen the pain points they've faced on their journeys. Some have had to erase internalized cultural beliefs that modernizing the foundational tech that powers our application-driven world is just too hard, too disruptive or too risky. Others struggle to build new ideas on top of legacy foundational technology that simply cannot support the scale and flexibility necessary for modern apps serving worldwide audiences. This leaves innovators feeling stuck, frustrated and defeated, which means slower progress, missed opportunities and less innovation in the world. And it's a fate that we at NS1 simply can't accept.
We are committed to building accessible, modern pathways to innovation by breaking down technological barriers. The way applications and audiences connect is evolving, leading to a new wave of digital transformation that will need to be supported by flexible, software-defined core network services.
A new wave of digital transformation
For the past decade or so, digital transformation has largely consisted of moving data and workloads from physical hardware to virtual platforms — from the data center to the cloud, from owned technology to everything as a service and from manual processes to automation everywhere. As this evolution was happening, the digital economy was also transforming the audiences that organizations were serving. Cloud services and mobile apps brought greater flexibility for remote work, more distributed access to products and unlimited access for media consumption. And COVID has fast-tracked this innovation, pushing companies to the literal edge.
This new phase of digital transformation moves enterprise storage, compute and networking from centralized locations, such as data centers and clouds, to decentralized or distributed edge locations that are closer to where data is generated and consumed. The enterprise distributed edge fundamentally changes how businesses operate, unlocking massive potential for reduced networking costs, better performance and greater deployment velocity, all while empowering employees and customers to more securely connect to business-critical applications and data.
The enterprise distributed edge will be essential in accessing the full potential of 5G, IoT, AI, microservices architectures and other advancements across every sector. For example: omnichannel retail experiences that enable customers to use mobile applications and AR to discover in-store inventory, pricing and promotions in real time; mobile health care clinics that provide secure access within compliance mandates to electronic personal health information; industry 4.0 with low latency computing on IoT sensors; truly immersive learning experiences; and AI-powered security detection systems that can identify threats faster than ever before.
Eliminating barriers to innovation
In building the enterprise distributed edge, there are first a few problems we have to solve. First, we need to eliminate infrastructural boundaries. It needs to be easy to orchestrate the network for audiences that are more dynamic and more connected than can be managed by humans. And it needs to be easy to orchestrate the code across application footprints that are more global, more elastic than can be managed by humans.
Second, we need to eliminate data boundaries. One of the biggest barriers in the next decade to fast and reliable and secure application experiences is going to be managing the balancing act of getting the application data close to the audience while propagating changes in the data quickly and consistently globally. This is a huge challenge and it's a rich problem space for innovation.
And third, we need to eliminate the boundaries between audiences and applications. We need to connect people and devices with application code and data to maximize quality and consistency of experiences in an economically achievable way. Connecting users with the right code and the right data at the right time is the key to creating superior connected experiences, but it requires elegant, intelligent orchestration of application traffic and workloads across dynamic and distributed audiences and applications.
Fueling Innovation and Enabling Innovators at the Distributed Edge
The enterprise distributed edge requires a new generation of enterprise networking services and capabilities that are built from the ground up to support this new paradigm. And that's why at NS1, we're reimagining those foundational technologies to change the way applications and audiences connect with each other to eliminate barriers to innovation.
At NS1, we're investing at scale in each one of those critical areas in service of our mission to make it easier to build and deliver global scale applications and smart audience conductivity. We are accomplishing this by innovating in the foundational tech of the network — the connective fabric that has increasingly become about applications and application traffic, and where the biggest barriers and the most debt reside.
For decades, core network services — DNS, DHCP and IP address management — have been centralized systems managed by IT staff tied to ticketing systems and manual processes. They are riddled with risk and incapable of scaling to support the modern distributed edge. So we've invested aggressively over the last few years, in partnership with many of our customers, to rethink the foundational services of the enterprise network. Eliminating the appliance-based mentality, we've created a software-defined approach and built automation, elasticity and intelligence into these core network services. This ensures velocity and scale, while delivering massive operating leverage through aligned DNS and DDI APIs, visibility and traffic management features for teams that are modernizing application and enterprise networking for the distributed edge.
Another exciting area of innovation at NS1 is in our edge capabilities. NS1's customers can run our cloud native network services in flexible elastic footprints wherever they need by downloading our edge containers for DNS and DHCP and other services. Those containers are orchestrated with global visibility and massive scale through our NS1 Connect cloud services, which simplifies management of the edge network life cycle. And because they're lightweight, customers can place their core network services anywhere across the distributed edge for better local survivability and performance.
At NS1, we believe that nothing should get in the way of the better future that innovators envision, so we are committed to eliminating those barriers and enabling access to foundational technologies that support their journeys to the enterprise distributed edge.