Beyond The Cloud: The Emergence of Edge Computing
Edge computing is an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we process data. As the number of connected devices continues to grow and the volume of data they generate increases, traditional cloud-based computing systems are becoming overwhelmed.
Edge computing offers a solution to this problem by processing data close to where it is generated, rather than sending it to a centralized data center.
Why is it important now?
Edge computing is an update for global companies to improve their operational efficiency, improve performance, and keep data secure. Edge technology is important today as it is supplemented by new advances like 5G, digital twin, and cloud-based applications, and data sets.
Currently there are two main factors that are restricting the use of edge computing – the expense of the hardware and the cost of creating customized edge computing software solutions.
Once mainstream adoption kickstarts and economies of scale is realized the hardware costs are expected to decline but the software problem is completely different. There are a wide variety of use cases for edge computing and yet no standardized software has been developed yet. Each company deciding to adopt the technology must create its own customized systems and thus adding to the cost. It is generally accepted that, as patterns emerge, standardized software for edge computing will become a reality.
While the industries and uses may vary, the essential goal of minimizing latency is shared by all. A significant amount of computing is already being done on Edge in manufacturing, hospitals, and retail sectors where most of the data is sensitive. It also provides power to the most critical systems that are required for safe and reliable operation. Edge can facilitate decision-making on these core functional systems. When there is an opportunity for AI and the IoT to connect to these systems, there is a niche for Edge as well.
Will edge computing replace cloud computing?
While transferring data over 5G simplifies the edge cloud and creates new services, decentralization of traditional IT infrastructure underpins edge computing and complements centralized cloud computing.
Edge computing should be thought of as an ally of the cloud that can work together to provide flexible solutions based on the data collection and analysis requirement of each business. Edge can be better used for real-time collection and analysis and for a specific workload. At the same time, the cloud can help create a centralized access point for large-scale analytic operations. When used in an alliance, both can bring real-time and future-ready insights to businesses such as asset performance management and machine learning.
As edge computing becomes the 'cool' new platform for business computing, it siphons off some of the growth (and hence money) that would otherwise have gone into cloud expansion (but for key hyperscale companies like Microsoft, AWS, Google, that could mean more stickiness and more AI and data).
In short, cloud and edge infrastructures, as well as connected network services, are critical to today's organizations.