Edge Computing – A Beginner’s Guide

October 10, 2019 in Edge Cloud

Edge Computing – A Beginner’s Guide

Edge computing is a buzzword among industry experts today, perhaps justifiably. It presents a multitude of opportunities to transfer some workload from centralised cloud computing to other components of the architecture. In this blog, we will explore this upcoming frontier of the web, its purpose and business advantages. 

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing brings computing infrastructure closer to the original data source. It is an open IT architecture where data is processed by the device itself or by a server or local computer. The concept refers to a distributed network that features decentralised power and enables mobile computing and IoT technologies. 

Edge computing requires effective use of resources that are continuously connected to networks via laptops, smartphones, tablets and sensors. It uses wireless sensor networks, cooperative distributed peer-to-peer ad-hoc networking and processing. As next-gen computing develops further, edge computing will continue to explore new use-cases. Read on to find out more about them.

The Need For Edge Computing

Loading of the on-premise data has long troubled enterprises. This is why the data centres were moved to the cloud. With the increase in load on the cloud and intelligent devices, enterprises found a resort at the ‘edge’ to process data close to its source. With edge computing’s data-gathering potential and batch-processing capability, coupled with cloud computing’s storage capacity and processing power, IoT devices can be run much faster. This can be done without sacrificing valuable analytical data.

Edge-computing is superior to cloud computing in analysing data locally. This way, a majority of data gets processed before being sent to the cloud. This reduces latency by cutting down the backhaul traffic to the central processing unit. Minimising the distance for data travel reduces the cost of running in most cases. It is especially beneficial in cases where a delay of even milliseconds can have an adverse impact, like in the financial or manufacturing services.

Advantages Of Edge Computing

Edge computing can help digital businesses create data more efficiently by bringing computing resources closer to the entity generating it. Edge computing allows companies to streamline information to a cloud or data centre for processing. As the volume and velocity of data increases, edge servers can form clusters or micro data centres where more computing power is needed locally. This can save costs significantly. Consider,  $4,000 per petabyte expense for long-term cloud storage and around 10X for real-time access storage. 

Edge servers can even be used for offshore oil rigs and retail outlets. Here, more computing power can together form clusters or micro data centres locally. Edge computing can also cater to the demanding Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) space.

Complex edge computing solutions can be used as gateways in vehicles. They can aggregate local data from traffic signals, GPS devices and proximity sensors to process information locally to improve safety or navigation. 

Complex servers can also be deployed in 5G base stations to host applications and cache content for local subscribers. This will eliminate the need to send traffic through a congested backbone network. 

The Future Of Edge Computing

Many businesses have already begun their digital business journey with edge computing’s decentralised approach. It has enormous potential to enable digital initiatives and bring the quality of service (QoS) back into the discussion of data centre architecture and services. However, edge devices are often in public places or other locations where physical security is not a viable option. There is a need to come up with foolproof solutions to curb these issues. Hence, edge computing may not replace the cloud, but in the coming years, it may be used as an approach to deploy in the cloud for specific use-cases focussing around the Internet of Things.

The future of network infrastructure is likely to be a combination of cloud and edge computing. As enterprises decide not just who will provide their services, but also the location, edge computing is a different beast for them that can provide agile, speedy and scalable solutions.