We are all familiar with the schism between hype and reality. For example, your favorite baseball team signs a hyped prospect who scouts are projecting will be “the next Mays,” but unfortunately, he winds up hitting more like Shirley Mays than Willie Mays and is never heard from again. Or the heavily-marketed “no paint” no-maintenance siding you put on your house has faded from a vibrant yellow to somewhere in the neighborhood of “off-white” after just one season in the sun.

Hype is the visions that dance in our minds of new heads of hair, a trimmer waistline, and investments guaranteed to deliver 25% annually. Meanwhile, reality tends to be more along the lines of a toupee that looks like a raccoon with the mange, relaxed fit jeans that unsuccessfully attempt to hide your love handles, and writing a check to Bernie Madoff for money you’ll never see again. We’re currently in a hype vs. reality moment in the data center business and — like so many issues these days — it revolves around the edge.

Edge computing seems to be on everyone’s minds these days, and there are pages of text and myriad PowerPoint presentations attesting to the revolutionary effects of data centers moving closer to endusers. This nirvana will include everything from latencies below 10 milliseconds to driverless cars and smart cities that will be able to process so much information about each of us that we’ll never have to open a door, go to the grocery store, or use the clicker to change the channel. Some may say nirvana sounds a lot like a surveillance state, but isn’t that more of a tomato/“tamahto” issue?

The problem surrounding all the enthusiasm regarding “the edge” is that there are a whole lot of companies out there who have immediate needs for computing and storage functionality at multiple locations right now. In other words, the hype has resulted in a degree of confusion and paralysis: “Does my multi-site project require an edge solution? And if it does who do I call?” Naturally, you can see how the need to classify your intended project before solving it can be quite vexing. Fortunately, the practical reality is that the edge is a very nice name for “remote computing.”

Indeed, there are some who would beg to differ with the idea of edge/remote computing equivalency. But let’s face it: when you strip things down, isn’t the issue really that you have an application (or applications) whose computing and storage gear requires only as many racks as you can count on the fingers of two hands … and you simply need a place to put it? Really people, do we have to make everything complicated?

Let’s say that you’re a telecommunications provider with some aging COs that need new hardware, and the cost of upgrading the entire site is prohibitive. Or you’re a cell tower owner who thinks that supporting content delivery could be a new revenue stream. In both cases you need a solution with a reliable design that provides power and cooling that you can monitor and control from a single location. In other words, you need a scaled-down data center designed for these types of applications that you can efficiently implement across multiple sites. And, because time is money, you don’t want to wait for someone to fulfill their grand vision of constructing their own “edge” network. The good news is that these types of solutions are available today. You might want to think of them as “wholesale” remote computing solutions dedicated to endusers that enable them, and you, to define the edge that applies to you.

Hype is a funny thing. While we focus on the visions of the better world to be birthed by new technologies or capabilities, sometimes we fail to see that, realistically, the solutions to our needs are already available. The demand for remote computing solutions isn’t waiting for the fulfillment of some corporate vision or consensus on a definition of the edge. For businesses with immediate remote computing needs, the question isn’t how long you will have to wait for a solution, but rather, why wait at all?