Edge Computing is similar to Cloud Computing as it involves using servers at data centers to perform the compute and storage just like in the Cloud. However, they each have their unique functionality in the technical world. Unlike the traditional Cloud architectures that handle compute and storage in a centralized fashion, Edge architectures can perform these functions in a decentralized manner by pushing the data processing to as far as edge devices and gateways, in addition to performing tasks at the proximity edge data centers. Let’s dive into what each of these technologies mean, and find out which one is suitable for your application.
Edge Computing is playing a pivotal role in creating a paradigm shift in the Cloud Computing market. The Edge is poised to bring large bandwidth-intensive data files and latency-sensitive business applications closer to the end user. This technology places compute, storage, and networking in close proximity to the data source. Edge Computing is applicable to a network end-point, and is part of an overall cloud architecture.
Workloads that are generated from large bandwidth-intensive data files generally cause network congestion and delays. This holdup can manifest as service downtime at the end-point and cause distress to the customer. This issue can be prevalent in Cloud Computing due to the overhead in reaching the servers. Ultimately, the end consumer will lose patience and switch service.
Hence, it is imperative that your critical applications are distributed and processed at the Edge where large bandwidth-intensive files and latency-sensitive applications are handled expeditiously. The Edge of the internet is where storage capacities and computing power are applied directly to help you reduce file transport times and increase availability of your applications.
The forgoing description of Edge Computing can offer fascinating prospects for data processing with several advantages; i.e., speed, security, scalability, and privacy.
Speed in data transit for end users increases as devices process their computing and storage needs on the Edge of the internet (i.e., in local data centers, gateways, and/or the devices). This proximity in compute and storage reduces the discontinuation or downtime that your devices experience, and thereby enhances data flow through repetition at the Edge. Consequently, the network performance also increases at the Edge.
Security benefits can be realized at the Edge through the distribution of data processing, storage, and applications across a wide range of devices and data centers. This dispersion makes it very challenging for a single interruption to shut down the entire network. This spreading characteristic of Edge Computing eases the implementation of security measures to isolate and block out only your affected area until the issue is resolved.
Privacy is an inherent feature of Edge Computing. When data is consumed locally among the Edge Computing resources without transmissions to the Cloud, you substantially lower the risk of compromising it on the backhaul internet.
Scalability comes in two forms with Edge Computing; the traditional notion of scalability where resources can be increased and decreased per demand, and the distributed notion of scalability where the computing scope can be spread among the devices and data centers at the Edge. Thus, you can derive great flexibility in your computing needs through Edge Computing.
Cloud Computing is a convenient network-based access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources at data centers that can be rapidly provisioned and released on-demand with minimal management effort or service provider interactions. The Cloud is essentially all the hardware and software located in regional data centers; both the applications delivered as services over the internet and the hardware and systems software in the data centers that provide those services is Cloud Computing.
Virtualization is a key feature of a Cloud Computing architecture, and is the foundation for sharing computing resources by multiple Cloud users. Compute nodes provide the processing, memory, network, and storage that virtual machine instances require. Virtualization technology ensures that each compute node appears as a separate physical machine allowing a user to load each node with custom software and operating system, as well as configure each node with custom rules. Ultimately, this promotes efficient use and sharing of network resources and applications to complete work without regard to their ownership and management.
The major advantage of Cloud Computing is its ease of access via the internet. Other characteristics that make this technology flexible and cost effective are detailed in the following.
Cloud Computing optimizes the sum of all computing resources for distribution to applications as needed, and ultimately delivers better efficiency and utilization of the entire shared infrastructure.
Cloud Computing can auto failover between hardware platforms through disaster recovery services; server sets can be brought up in separate data centers should the primary data center be disrupted.
Cloud Computing can help deploy projects faster as servers can be provisioned or released in minutes for deploying new applications; instead of installing and networking new hardware, the new server can easily be commissioned via the web console.
Edge Computing will solve some of the major problems caused by Cloud Computing (e.g., quiescence and wasted resources at the aggregated and far edges where local data centers and smart devices are situated, respectively).
When deciding on which technology to use, focus on the aspects of data processing in each computing environment. Cloud Computing uses centralized servers to perform all calculations. Edge Computing uses a decentralized approach to perform your calculations among the computing resources at the Edge (smart devices, gateways, and data centers).