What is Edge Computing?
You might have heard of this terminology before but let’s revise it once again.
Edge computing is all around us – from the vehicles that you drive to the mobile phone that you use. Edge computing is exactly like it sounds- computing that takes place at the “edge” of corporate networks. Here, the “edge” can be elucidated as the place where end devices access the rest of the network i.e. mobile phones, laptops, industrial robots, sensors, etc.
In short, this concept works on bringing computing services closer to the device or data source where it’s most needed.
Why is Edge Computing needed when Cloud Computing is available?
This is a question most asked by professionals from the IT sector. The word has been out how edge computing works for organizations that are in need to avoid latency and operational costs. Cloud computing is also the trend but there are a few things that make edge computing stand right beside it. In cloud computing, files are stored in remote data centers and can be accessed anytime from any device.
On the other hand, edge computing is similar to cloud computing by its key purpose. The only difference they have is that cloud computing uses remote data centers for storage while edge computing makes partial use of local drives. Let’s look at situations when edge computing wins over cloud computing for businesses.
Situation 1: The network doesn’t have enough bandwidth to send files to the cloud.
Situation 2: When business owners are hesitant in keeping sensitive data on remote storages.
Situation 3: If the network isn’t reliable to access files in the online mode.
Edge computing can help businesses of self-driving vehicles, healthcare workers, manufacturers, finance, etc., in dealing with these situations. Also, edge computing is favored over cloud computing for businesses operating in remote locations where there is limited or no connectivity. Such businesses appreciate having local storage and so edge computing becomes an ideal choice for them.
Edge computing is a fast-growing market, with the forecast global revenue set to reach nine billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
Edge Computing Vs. Cloud Computing - Which One’s Better?
This has been a debate among IT professionals for quite a while now. Let me tell you that both edge computing and cloud computing have their pros and cons. So it’s all about whose pros will benefit which business. Let’s go through them one by one.
The factor of latency: This particular advantage of edge computing is a big one. It provides a faster and smoother user-experience to the users while cloud computing solutions go through delays between a client request and a cloud service provider’s responses
Security of data: This is also a crucial one. Edge computing allows businesses to have control over their data by storing the key information locally while cloud computing stores data on a third-party remote data center.
The factor of scalability: Edge computing allows storing an increasing amount of data both in remote centers and on the edges of networks while cloud storage solutions lack it.
The factor of versatility: Edge computing finds a balance between traditional centralized cloud data storage and local storage while cloud computing solutions also provide a great deal of flexibility but only when you have an internet connection.
Power supply: Edge computing lacks here as if the device is cut off from the electricity source, it won’t be able to process data in the local network. This challenge can be treated by producing alternative energy production devices while cloud computing solutions don’t go through this factor.
The factor of physical space: Edge computing requires businesses to have a dedicated physical space for the local servers to be able to accommodate data while cloud managed services work completely on remote servers.
Maintenance: If a business is using edge computing, it will require them to monitor and repair local servers whenever needed which is an added cost of maintenance while cloud computing solutions are hosted on the internet through remote servers so it doesn’t require physical maintenance.
This list of factors can help you determine what works best for your business. For example, if data security is important for you, go for edge computing but if you have a lack of physical space to accommodate local servers, cloud computing might be the right choice for now.
Examples of Edge Computing
Autonomous Vehicles: Self-driving vehicles use a lot of what edge computing offers. This can eliminate the need for drivers as the vehicles will move safely without any human input. It offers more than just running the vehicle and plays a crucial part in safety features even now like anti-lock brakes, traction control, collision avoidance system, cruise control, etc. It’s all handled by edge computing in real-time.
Moreover, it has prevented 276,000 accidents on the road in the US alone and will prevent 2.5 million accidents by the year 2030.
In-hospital Patient Monitoring: The majority of healthcare centers are dependent on IoT devices and they require a network that is real-time and has zero latency. This is where edge computing comes into the picture. Edge computing can help with patient monitoring devices, video capture technology, and smart health wearables for monitoring heart rate, blood sugar level, etc. This brings a significant change in the healthcare industry and can save more lives.
Smart Homes: We all know how smart homes operate on IoT devices where data is usually sent to a remote server. Well, this introduces the uncertainty regarding privacy, security, and latency. Edge computing brings the processing and storage closer to the smart homes which wipe out the uncertainty.
Streaming Services: Video streaming and game streaming are among the most popular and highest bandwidth-consuming media on the Internet. They require high processing power, and fantastic speed connectivity but are somehow limited by delay intolerance and excessive bandwidth usage. Edge computing can introduce new technologies, such as cloudlets, micro data centers, fog, and mobile edge computing that can bring computational and storage resources closer to the network source resulting in minimized latency.
Looking to the Future
Though edge computing isn’t the only solution for the future, it’s about creating the best of both worlds. When a business starts to leverage both edge and cloud computing according to their needs, that is when the future looks bright.
It is also not recommended to delegate all your data to edge computing as so much of it can be deleted from there due to limited capacity. And even if it doesn’t get deleted, managing a network of data can be a nightmare for organizations. Moreover, it’s expensive and requires advanced infrastructure. By utilizing data gathering potential from edge computing with the processing power of cloud computing, organizations can maximize their benefits from both approaches.
There are also cloud service providers that can help you with it. For example, if you are a resident of Los Angeles, you can get your set of managed cloud services in Los Angeles from a provider. Or if your business is around Redding, you can consult an IT services provider in Redding to know more about both approaches.
The Final Word
The debate about what is better than the other, edge computing or cloud computing will go on. And, it’s difficult to choose one over the other but to come to a fair conclusion, Apex is here to help you know more about both approaches.