One often comes across technical terms like edge and cloud computing. While the latter is still relatively well-known around the world, the former needs to be explained. This article highlights the basics of edge and cloud computing, their differences, and their relationship with one another. It also sheds light on the future of edge and cloud computing.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is a distributed open-stage computing framework near the things or information sources at the system edge. It coordinates the abilities of systems, networks, and applications. By conveying edge-intelligent administrations, edge computing meets the critical prerequisites of industry digitalization for lithe networks, real-time applications, information streamlining, application insight, security, and protection insurance.
Edge computing is defined in a variety of ways by people of different fields and interests.
IBM defines edge computing as “a distributed computing framework that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices or local edge servers.”
Similarly, Hewlett Packard defines edge computing as “the practice of processing data near the edge of your network, where the data is being generated, instead of in a centralized data-processing warehouse.”
Edge computing brings calculation and information stockpiling nearer to the gadgets where it’s being accumulated, as opposed to depending on a focal area that can be hundreds of miles away. The computation and storing of gathered data over the edge of the node are known as edge computing. It connects the physical and digital worlds via smart devices, smart systems, smart assets, and smart services.
Advantages of Edge Computing
The primary benefit of edge computing is that it mitigates the risk of network breakdowns or cloud slowdowns when timely access to data is critical. Edge computing achieves this by embedding automation and intelligence into your physical devices.
Some of the other significant advantages of edge computing are:
Unprecedented Data Control
Edge computing gives you massive control over data as it is the first point where computing accesses data. You can determine which data you want to keep and which ones you want to route, summarize, or obfuscate. You can also add controls at this point to manage data privacy, reliability, and security.
Take the example of facial recognition technology in smartphones. It uses edge computing, meaning that your face’s image is retained on your phone by AI. This ensures your privacy and security are not compromised, which is possible when you move the same to the cloud.
Edge computing has low latency due to shorter network uptime, bandwidth limitations, and round-trip times.
Processing your data at the edge makes your cloud upload and storage a lot cheaper. You don’t need full-fidelity data when you can make do with a summary or key insights.
What is Cloud Computing?
The cloud is basically the internet. Cloud computing also often comes with varying definitions depending upon who defines it and to which field one belongs. You come across many different definitions because IT companies, academics, industry specialists, and analysts define cloud computing as they deem fit. Such descriptions are usually aligned with their professional backgrounds.
Cloud computing is a service provided to you by other companies which you can access using the internet. One can access hardware and software services just by connecting to the cloud service provider’s network. Here are some definitions of cloud computing:
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), cloud computing is “an emerging IT development, deployment, and delivery model, enabling real-time delivery of products, services, and solutions over the Internet (i.e., enabling cloud services).”
The 451 Group defines cloud computing as “a service model that combines a general organizing principle for IT delivery, infrastructure components, an architectural approach, and an economic model – basically, a confluence of grid computing, virtualization, utility computing, hosting and software as a service (SaaS).”
Merrill, a leading American investment management company, defines cloud computing as “the idea of delivering personal (e.g., email, word processing, presentations) and business productivity applications (e.g., salesforce automation, customer service, accounting) from centralized servers.”
Cloud computing enables a user to edit, create, delete, publish, compute and store data on a device like a computer, mobile, or tablet through the internet. A user can use the pre-installed applications on a server at any platform and at any time.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of cloud computing. It enhances the overall efficiency of cloud-based services by leveraging machine learning and deep learning. In many use cases, cloud computing and AI have led to better management, increased revenues, and lower costs.
Here are some cloud computing facts for you.
- More than 90% of companies use cloud computing.
- 80% of enterprises use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their primary cloud platform.
- Enterprises use 1427 distinct cloud services on average.
Difference Between Edge and Cloud Computing
The primary difference between the two is that while edge computing moves computing to the edge of the network and as close to data sources as possible, cloud computing generates and collects data from multiple locations and stores it in the cloud. Cloud computing is, by its very nature, a centralized process. This is what enables it to process data at scale very easily and efficiently, costing you a lot less.
Most companies store and process their data on the cloud since it has almost unlimited resources compared to the small and resource-constrained devices onsite. Storage and computing have been expanding at a much faster rate than the capacity of the network. No matter the size or volume of the data, cloud computing can handle it once it moves to the cloud.
But sometimes, you cannot or do not need to send your precious data to the cloud for processing. These include:
- Your internet connection is unstable or not working at all.
- You cannot transfer data offsite due to privacy regulations or security concerns.
- Your device needs to analyze data and make lightning-quick decisions.
The Future of Edge and Cloud Computing
Although edge computing provides fantastic benefits, it will not overtake cloud computing. In fact, both will go hand-in-hand with each other to enable efficient, secure, and scalable business processes.
Edge computing has certain limitations. For one, it leads to resource limitations on batteries, storage, bandwidth, and computing power. Some experts suggest that we should consider edge and cloud as integral parts of a computing continuum, where the cloud retains the central position in a network while the edge complements it from the “edges” of a network, so to speak.
We can look forward to a promising future for both computing frameworks. Cloud services are already on the rise, as mentioned earlier. You can add edge computing to your cloud solutions to efficiently handle and optimize your enterprise applications. Cloud computing offers data analytics and new applications which are distributed to your edge computing network, which returns the data to the cloud with further feedback.
It’s a virtuous loop. Keep your business growing by combining and utilizing both technologies to offer highly personalized and contextualized experiences.