Unless you have been residing on a remote desert island for the past decade, the rise in popularity of cloud computing cannot have gone unnoticed.
Having your data reside in the cloud where data, applications and compute power are all conveniently centralised has multiple benefits such as data sharing, centralised compute and cost efficiency.
Cloud computing is not without its drawbacks and edge computing benefits from increased speed and lower latency.
Cloud For All Services?
The short answer is No.
It’s worth pointing out that in all the excitement of embracing cloud computing many providers did not exactly go out of their way to ensure their ‘cloud’ was anywhere near the customers local devices. Maybe not even on the same continent!
Businesses are using the many benefits of cloud computing for a multitude of services. It has become apparent that this model may not always be the perfect fit. Certain services that require low latency don’t suit the cloud computing model.
The edge computing model is designed to address these latency requirements and improve overall performance, particularly for real-time services.
Edge Computing Benefits – Overview
The edge computing model ensures your data, associated applications and the compute power are all physically located as near to the data source/user as possible. This will either be on the local device itself, the local LAN or a hop or two across the WAN.
Thanks in part to the ever increasing performance of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the availability of powerful mini servers, your data can now be processed fully at the edge.
This increases overall performance and user experience of a particular service, plus some (or all) of the data can also be sent to the cloud for further intensive centralised processing if required.
Edge Computing – Example Use
Edge computing revolutionises services such as driver-less vehicle and traffic management systems that will require real-time performance.
But it does not stop there. Edge computing is readily available to help businesses with a number of latency related issues. Lets use Desktop as a Service (DaaS) as a simple example.
With DaaS the main compute function for the local terminals is performed by Citrix servers located in the cloud or remote data centre. This is not an ideal design due to modern applications requirement for lower and lower latency.
Even something as mundane as print services can heavily impact overall user experience. In this scenario each time a user prints, the print request must:
Print requests leaves the local terminal
Make it’s way to the cloud/data centre
Be executed on the cloud server
The server will send the print data back to the local sites printer
The printer is most likely located next to the user
Does this Not Seem Slightly Insane?
Edge computing allows small form factor servers to be installed at each local site or local data centres. They run the Citrix application as close to the users as possible. Print services data no longer needs to travel to the cloud and back.
Edge computing can improve the performance of voice services, video conferencing, data warehouse services, customer payment services.
Edge Computing Benefits
1. Compute Speed
Edge computing ensures that data is processed either locally or in nearby Edge/Fog data-centres only a hop or two away. This reduction in overall latency increases performance when compared to cloud computing is the main driver for using the edge computing model.
2. Increased Reliability
By moving the data, application and associated compute functions to the edge, there is less reliance on connectivity to the public internet, remote data centres and cloud services.
As edge computing processes data locally, sensitive information contained within that data can be removed prior to sending it to any cloud service for additional processing.
By using a combination of edge, fog and cloud computing, the majority of compute functions can be made as local to the data/devices as possible for efficiency and reduction of latency, but still have that data shared with more central cloud computing systems for additional centralised compute services.
5. Cost Reductions
Edge computing can considerably reduce the amount of data that is required to be sent to the cloud. This has a 2-fold affect on cost as both less WAN bandwidth and less cloud compute power is needed.
Edge Computing Benefits – Conclusion
Cloud computing will always play an pivotal role in modern network design. However with the ever-increasing processing power of Internet of Things (IoT) devices edge computing can shift more of the compute function and associated data nearer the source. This allows us to achieve lower latency for greater performance and ultimately increased user experience.
Edge computing benefits ensure it will be here to stay and will compliment cloud computing rather then replace it.
Please get in touch to discuss your edge computing requirement in more detail