Edge Computing: The Future of Cloud?
In our last article, we briefly discussed cloud storage and its uses in today’s corporate world. Here we delve deeper into the nature of cloud - its strengths and weaknesses and the new infrastructure of Edge to overcome these loopholes.
Formerly a new technology trend to watch, cloud computing has become mainstream, with major players AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform dominating the market. Cloud provides tremendous benefits for organizations that use a traditional client/server network. By storing assets and information in a centralized cloud, they ensure that authorized users can access the information and tools they need from anywhere at any time. The adoption of cloud computing is still growing, as more and more businesses migrate to a cloud solution. While the cloud revolutionized the way we handle data and the way businesses were able to provide applications and services to their customers, it comes with limitations as well.
Cloud: Strengths and Weaknesses
Cloud computing is simply unparalleled with regards to large scale data analysis, with its huge storage and processing potential. This data can be utilised to produce valuable insights, trends and solutions. In fact its immense data analysis capabilities are some of the reasons why artificial Intelligence and machine learning have become more viable in recent years. Due to its scalable infrastructure, cloud is also able to expand its storage and processing capacity as needed, which is highly beneficial for small businesses looking to expand quickly.
However, while the cloud may be superior in power and capacity, it falls short in speed. The centralised nature of cloud computing hinders its ability to process data quickly and efficiently. As businesses look to expand its storage and processing capacity, the cracks of cloud computing begin to reveal themselves, due to the lack of efficiency. This is a shortcoming that Edge has been able to overcome.
What is Edge?
Edge is the new emerging technology trend, which allows resources and application services to be distributed along the communication path, via decentralized computing infrastructure. Edge computing is designed to help solve some of those problems as a way to bypass the latency caused by cloud computing and getting data to a datacenter for processing. Rather than constantly delivering data back to a central server, edge devices can gather and process data in real time, allowing them to respond faster and more effectively. Hence, Edge is best utliised to process time-sensitive data in remote locations with limited or no connectivity to a centralized location, where it acts like mini datacenters.
Edge Computing: Strengths and Weaknesses
We live in a world saturated with data - with the abundance of new technologies such as IoT, 5G and augmented reality. The emergence of a global pandemic has undoubtedly altered the working landscape for the foreseeable future, as remote working becomes the new normal for companies around the world. Remote working further adds to the vast amounts of data being generated at the edge of the network - with more devices accessing company networks outside of the central office locations. This added strain on the network bandwidth brings the perfect opportunity for edge computing to step in.
The rise in remote working also brings with it an increase in security and privacy issues to be handled. Increased incidences of remote access give cyber criminals greater opportunity to access company data and misuse the information within. With edge computing, data is filtered and processed locally, before being sent to the organisation’s network core via the cloud. By reducing the transfer of sensitive data between devices and the cloud, companies can improve security for themselves and their customers.
The Future Landscape
Many companies now are making a move towards edge computing, but the future of network infrastructure is unlikely to be found solely on the edge or in the cloud, but rather a combination of the two. By combining the data-gathering potential of edge computing with the storage capacity and processing power of the cloud, companies can keep their applications and IoT devices running quickly and efficiently without sacrificing valuable analytical data that could help them to improve services and drive innovation.
Ultimately, edge computing vs. cloud computing is not an either-or debate, nor are they direct competitors. A hybrid solution is likely to be most beneficial to provide a comprehensive solution that will provide more computing options for your organisation’s needs. To implement this kind of hybrid solution, identifying those needs and comparing them against costs should be the first step in assessing what would work best for you.