Seeking to take advantage of its network of 60000 Route Kilometers (RKMs) of optical fiber cable (OFC) along the railway tracks across the country, RailTel a public sector unit of Indian Railways has decided to set up ‘Edge Data Centers (EDCs)’ in rural and semi-rural areas at a cost of over Rs 500 crore to ensure ‘faster digital transformation and efficient digital delivery’ in the digitally poorly connected areas.
“The process to establish the Edge Data Centres (EDC) has been set in motion with the floating of Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting industry to partner in this exercise,” a RailTel statement stated here on Wednesday.
Edge data centres are small data centres located at the edge of the network passing through small and big towns, cities villages, along the railway track.
These edge data centres are proposed to come up ‘closer to end-users and devices’ and are expected to effectively address the delays in communication over a network, from the time of capturing of a packet of data, transmission, processing through multiple devices, and its reception at destination and decoding.
“Having such kind of facility at EDC would enable faster performance and lower latency as organisations will not have to move the data to far-flung data centres to process it,” RailTel Assistant General Manager Public Relations Sucharita Pradhan said here.
The move according to Pradhan is expected to boost the central government’s digital India mission and accelerate the pace of digital transformation along with efficient delivery in rural and semi-rural areas.
Under the initiative RailTel will create several EDCs in the railway premises and land across 102 locations particularly in the Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode, the RailTel official said.
The setting up of EDCs according to RailTel is also expected to address the core concern of latency (delay in communication over a network).
Latency has been always a problem for data centre managers. In recent times it has become a critical concern in view of a wide range of next-generation applications like big data, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and streaming services, and other technology trends, the RailTel official said.
Under the proposed plan, the initial capacity of each EDCs is envisioned to be around 20 racks (5-10 KW each), according to the RailTel.