Consumer and Enterprise Users have sort of made the most of Cloud Technology. But with the ever-growing workloads, the Internet of Things (IoT), and real-time analytics, businesses are starting to look elsewhere for their computing needs.
To answer, rather analyse this, let’s have a basic understanding of these two first.
The current wave of enterprise cloud computing has long been shifting processing off-premise and putting ‘a lot of the same things in a few places’, namely huge third-party data centres – many of which may be shared and/or offshore. This is Cloud Computing.
But with the continuous increase in the number of devices connected and the crunching and consumption of data more quickly than ever before, the latency of hosted solutions demands a new approach.
Edge Computing is usually termed as ‘processing of data at the edge of a network’. This refers to the processing of data at the user end instead of being processed in a local or virtual server.
With the rise of the IoT and embedded intelligence, the trend is moving the other way for many applications, putting ‘a few things in a lot of places’, which is a different strategic and operational technology challenge.
Put another way, the pendulum of the IT industry is swinging away from centralised services – such as those in the cloud – and back towards distributed systems, especially for real-time data processing in IoT, sensor array, AI, data triage, and machine-to-machine instant messaging applications.
This brings us to our next segment. The Advantages of Edge Computing.
These increasing data and real-time analysis requirements have given rise to edge computing, and other distributed approaches. By placing data storage and analysis capabilities at the edge – as close as possible to the sensors, pumps, generators, or whatever hardware is crucial to the operations – users are given several advantages over cloud-based solutions.
Reducing the amount of data sent to the cloud cuts out unnecessary data transfers, simplifies cybersecurity, and decreases network and system response times, meaning data and analysis on critical processes are kept as up to date as possible.
In short, cutting out the latency of a cloud-based network could mean the difference between addressing mission-critical issues just in time, or getting information that is too little, too late.
Which brings us to our final segment: The Difference between the two. Cloud vs. Edge.
Both the systems of computing are useful; however, the usage of a particular technology is determined by the area of application – as in the case of these two.
Cloud computing functions as a normal server and every process that happens are accounted for within the server. Data management, critical mission response, processing data, etc. all happens within the cloud storage.
Edge computing is associated with the same processing of data (or at least a part of the data) at the endpoint (usually a device like an ATM, gateway devices, smartphone, etc.) or typically known as ‘edge’. This ‘edge analysis’ initially captures streaming data that can be used to initiate a function or computing activity like closing a faulty ATM or in the case of fraud or exhaustion of currency in its dispensing unit. Smartphones use this method of computing while paying through the device; traffic lights, manufacturing – and a lot more activities are operated with edge computing.
As a result, users and providers alike are moving towards the so-called edge environment, with vendors such as Dell and Microsoft investing billions of dollars in IoT portfolios and edge computing services, which move processing and intelligence closer to the point of need.
Hence, the Cloud itself is unlikely to be replaced. Rather, it will complete the Edge computing concept, acting as a hub for storage, backup, coordination, and Machine Learning. The more demanding data processing tasks will still require Cloud infrastructure. Edge Computing is not a stand-alone solution. It will result in an increasingly complex and diverse network that is built around larger centres that serve as the backbone for the “cloudlets”.
The Edge is not replacing the Cloud, but, enhancing it significantly. If you want to store large scale data and online processes, virtual servers will still be the way to go. But if you want to build a responsive solution with reduced latency, supplement it with Edge processing to make it faster and more reliable.
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