In this age of digital transformation, new technology aimed at producing innovation or transformational results are born every day. One such platform is the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to Gartner, the Internet of Things (IoT) may include over 25 billion devices by 2020. With this expected increase, the vast amounts of data being generated will only increase creating a need for effective big data solutions to manage and rapidly process that data.
Cloud is a crucial component of global networks that generate and process these enormous volumes of data. As users are spread across geographies and data needs to travel through multiple networks, this increases transmission latency that therefore increases response time and downgrades the user experience.
Edge Computing can help solve this problem. Although cloud computing and edge computing systems can involve the use of cloud, they aren’t the same, as depicted in the image below.
Reference*: NTT SCL( http://techwireasia.com/2017/11/edge-computing-making-iot-explosion/)
Edge computing provides the platform for some applications to be processed on an edge server that sits between the cloud, closer the user. This provide a reduced transmission time resulting in faster response times and also gives an added security benefit of keeping sensitive data close to the network core where firewalls and safety components are in place.
How is Edge Computing different from Cloud Computing?
Edge computing is primarily purpose-built for customized systems, whereas cloud computing is a more ubiquitous platform that is compatible with older applications. Moreover, edge computing is primarily used for processing application data that requires a quick response such as sensor data, manufacturing data, etc. For data that has a longer life span and doesn’t need to be processed immediately, cloud is a better option over edge computing.
Another factor when considering edge computing is data is typically not stored for eternity and may get deleted after being processed. This helps reduce surplus data accumulation that is a result of traditional cloud computing architecture. Otherwise, the streamed real-time data accumulates over time, is no longer useful but taking up valuable storage space. The fear of losing data makes organizations react by spending huge capital to keep everything, regardless of its’ true value. Edge computing reduces the need for superfluous storage, as it only sends processed information to the Cloud. Cloud storage is now utilized for useful information only.
Edge computing and cloud computing can supplement each other and but may not substitute each other. Organizations can shift utilization from edge computing to cloud computing services and vice-versa based on specific requirements as needed. A well-balanced strategy where both models are considered in the overall technology stack can provide an optimized outcome.
Benefits of Edge Computing
Edge Computing is fundamentally based on the fact that there is certain data that needs fast processing, therefore should be processed closest to its generation point. This is beneficial when there is absolutely no need to collect data in a centralized cloud repository and waste bandwidth transmitting it. Edge Computing introduced this model where only important and crucial data is transmitted to the Cloud.
Following are a few benefits that Edge Computing provides:
- Cost-effective data processing solution: Edge Computing lowers IoT costs by locally performing vital data computing. Businesses can then decide which services to run locally and which will reside in the Cloud. This greatly optimizes IoT solution costs, by augmenting with cellular-based technologies at a lower-cost, and improves return on investment.
- Faster response times: Data latency is reduced by cutting out round trips to the Cloud. This delivers faster responses, which ensures critical operations function smoothly without breaking down or incidents occurring.
- Security & compliance: Edge Computing reduces or avoids general data transfer between devices and the Cloud. Sensitive information can be filtered out and processed locally with non-sensitive data sent for further processing to adhere to strict security and compliance frameworks.
- Interoperability between legacy and new devices: Edge computing acts as an interpreter between legacy and modern devices. It converts the communication protocols utilized by legacy devices for consumption by new smart devices and the Cloud. This enables legacy devices to be connected to the latest IoT platforms, extending the life of older IT architecture.
- Dependable operations with sporadic internet connectivity: Edge computing enables equipment that is remotely placed or has intermittent internet connectivity to work seamlessly. Equipment can function offline without any disruption providing an ideal scenario for fast analysis of data in distant or remote locations such as oil rigs, solar farms, rural areas, etc. It also can detect equipment failure even in instances of restricted connectivity.
Edge Computing can be used as a complementary approach to Cloud Computing solutions to help organizations store and process data more effectively. Organizations who have begun to use this hybrid architecture are reaping multiple benefits as detailed above in both performance and customer satisfaction.
Emtec helps organizations develop and implement innovative solutions utilizing Edge Computing and high-performing embedded system architecture. Contact us, to learn more about distributed computing and its benefits for your organization.