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By switching to a hybrid approach, edge networks provide greater bandwidth as cloud services can store more data, therefore optimizing performance for business operations.
The Beginning of the Edge
Cloud infrastructure has exploded over the last couple decades and major players such as Amazon and Microsoft have looked for a way to expand the cloud, literally by pushing it to the ‘Edge’. The origins of edge computing lie in content delivery networks that were created in the late 1990s to serve web and video content from edge servers that were deployed close to users.
In the early 2000s, these networks evolved to host applications and application components at the edge servers, resulting in the first commercial edge computing services that hosted applications such as dealer locators, shopping carts, real-time data aggregators, and ad insertion engines. Though the ‘Edge’ seems like a buzzword it does have significance and cloud providers are looking for their next move outside of the cloud. Edge computing is computing that is done at or near the source of the data, instead of relying on the cloud at one of a dozen data centers to do all the work. Bringing data closer to the source of operation means low latency and contributes to autonomous data transfer between machines. Edge computing refers to all computing outside the cloud and more specifically in applications where real-time processing of data is required.
Cloud computing operates on big data while edge computing operates on instant data that is real-time data generated by sensors or users. By transitioning cloud operations to the edge device aka machine there could be numerous benefits in operational cost and data storage. Using the cloud to transfer data over miles of networks creates latency problems and delays business operations. Depending on what type of business, real-time transfers of data may be better placed in a hybrid edge and cloud concept.
Cloud Limits and the Push for a Faster Bandwidth
Cloud data centers are being pushed to the limit from constant demands from IoT (Internet of Things) devices requesting massive of amounts of data. While transferring data from the cloud there are slower response times, interruptions within the bandwidth, increasing costs and limits to capacity. By moving data to the edge response times are drastically faster and this fusion of cloud and edge technology would benefit latency and improve bandwidth, thus lowering costs. Bringing networks to the edge operation become less centralized and offer greater response times, generating multiple platforms to run applications on real-time. Edge computing vs. cloud computing is not an either-or debate. To optimize operations these platforms should be used in tandem. To implement this type of hybrid solution, identifying needs and comparing them against costs should be the first step in assessing what would work best.
|Points of Difference||Edge Computing||Cloud Computing|
|Suitable Companies||Edge Computing is regarded as ideal for operations with extreme latency concerns. Thus, medium scale companies that have budget limitations can use edge computing to save financial resources.||Cloud Computing is more suitable for projects and organizations which deal with massive data storage.|
|Programming||Several different platforms may be used for programming, all having different runtimes.||Actual programming is better suited in clouds as they are generally made for one target platform and uses one programing language.|
|Security||Edge Computing requires a robust security plan including advanced authentication methods and proactively tackling attacks.||It requires less of a robust security plan.|
Time for a Shift
As the cloud reaches its data limits the idea to move data to the edge has become a greater interest for different reasons, potentially benefiting users and businesses alike. The edge has real-time advantages as where the cloud has an enormous data capacity. In general, the shift for the next big idea relates to the idea of the outgrowth of the Mainframe back in the seventies. Mainframes had exhausted their capabilities and innovators had found a new and useful solution by introducing the cloud as the next tech breakthrough.
Advantages for Business
The cloud has several advantages that include software development platforms, storage, servers, and other software through internet connectivity. The advantages of edge computing include a valuable continuum from the device to the cloud, which can handle the massive amounts of data generated. Costly bandwidth additions are no longer required as there is no need to transfer gigabytes of data to the cloud. It also analyses sensitive IoT data within a private network, thereby protecting sensitive data. Enterprises now tend to prefer edge computing depending on their business needs. By using a combination of edge and cloud businesses can truly benefit using both platforms by optimizing data storage, security and latency.
Letters – Cloud Network Security Safety flickr photo by perspec_photo88 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license