How close to the edge is your business model?

Many industry sources are now advocating that edge computing is increasingly an important topic being discussed in the boardroom. Leading analysts such as Gartner are reporting that the interest and demand for the capability to deliver edge cloud computing is growing exponentially. By 2022, 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed by edge computing infrastructure. Furthermore, Gartner also reports that by 2025, the integration of a business’s IT infrastructure, in terms of delivery of content, will have increased fourfold compared to today where only 20% of infrastructure strategies integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud and edge.

What is edge cloud computing and why should you be interested?

For those not using or unaccustomed with the technology here is my view of edge computing simplified.

Edge computing is a relatively new term but the problems it is attempting to solve have been around for a very long time. The catalyst that is fuelling this quest is two-fold and is deeply rooted in our insatiable appetite for data on demand and instant connectivity. The IOT (Internet Of Things) threw a massive rock in the traditional computing pond to which the ripples are now hitting the shoreline.

The two forces at work here are network latency (speed that data can be transmitted between two points) and volumes of data (how to sift the useful from the noise).

One definition of edge computing that Wikipedia lists is “any type of computer program that delivers low latency nearer to the requests”. It also notes “The origins of edge computing lie in content delivery networks that were created in the late 1990s to serve web and video content from edge servers that were deployed close to users”, confirming my earlier point that this is not new news.

Why all the fuss now?

One theory is that the global install base for IOT will exceed 75.4 billion devices by 2025 and as these sensors and autonomous devices expand, the technical challenges of getting all the data back to central point, sifting it out to find the nuggets of useful information, processing it into data that is worth something and then transmitting it back or onward becomes impossible.

The worlds network topology just won’t be able to keep up with all this data transfer and just like your internet at home goes slow when you’re your family are logged on. The speed at which data from these devices will slow down and, in some cases, become irrelevant or worthless in this real time world.

The solution is to move the computation (sifting, processing and classifying data) close to the user or customer using gamelets and cloudlets (services deployed at the edge) before sending data back to a traditional core datacentre if required or for further processing.

How does edge computing help?

Firstly, edge computing network architecture removes the need to transmit large volumes of data between different points. Moving services to the edge enables the operations that are critical to the user (speed, relevance, usability etc) to be processed close to the consumer.

Operations such as persistent tasks and storage, service management and security, content delivery and local caching can use edge computing network architecture to offload to the edge. This removes the reliance on a fast stable network to deliver consistent results. The importance of this will only grow when 5G devices, facial recognition, Internet Of Things (IOT), security systems, smart homes, smart cars and more become ubiquitous. The near instant processing of data from connected devices and sensors will become an everyday activity.

Secondly, business agility is accelerated as geographically relevant processing and data becomes technically possible without the need to maintain persistent network links. This leads to cost reductions in the deployment of micro systems in specific geographic, regulatory or political markets.

An important footnote to the activities described above is security. The ability to deploy edge computing network architecture closer to the user negates the need to move private and personal data (including voice) across a network to process it, an important threat vector for cybercriminals.

How edge computing compares with cloud computing and edge computing vision and challenges

“Cloud first” is a trendy term used everywhere an IT model is discussed. However, many companies are pausing their strategic IT planning and asking how edge computing compares with cloud computing as a deployment strategy? Reviewing this rush to cloud vendors, considering the emergence of edge computing, is starting to change the adopted technology engagement model. Meaning that a more business relevant model might be “cloud first but not at any cost.”

The importance of understanding a workload continues to be a strong determining factor to where a service is deployed, and this is one of the biggest differentiators of how edge computing compares with cloud computing. The main driver of these discussions is the continued interest in the use of containers and kubernetes as the best way to enable easy workload and service flexibility.

Successful CTO’s are spending time focused on how their edge computing vision and challenges will dovetail into businesses applications, rather than scaling the physical infrastructure. For many businesses this is a seismic move to aligning a service driven strategy in place of a traditional IT-architecture-driven strategy to provide agility that successful businesses need in an ever-changing world.

Vissensa has a long history of being at the forefront of technical innovation and rode the wave of colocation, network connectivity, cloud and hybrid deployments. In a continued investment in technology that supports a wide range of market sectors across the world, Vissensa has continued to invest in datacentre capabilities. We can offer organisations a secure and resilient footprint across several geographically important locations offering edge computing on demand. Eliminating the need to purchase your own edge computing hardware and utilise best in class equipment from the top data centre providers. We can set this up quickly and at a fraction of the cost of building traditional hub and spoke services.

FAQ'S

What are edge computing vision and challenges?

Successful CTO’s are spending time focused on how their edge computing vision and challenges will dovetail into businesses applications, rather than scaling the physical infrastructure. For many businesses this is a seismic move to aligning a service driven strategy in place of a traditional IT-architecture-driven strategy to provide agility that successful businesses need in an ever-changing world... read more

What is edge computing simplified ?

One definition of edge computing that Wikipedia lists is “any type of computer program that delivers low latency nearer to the requests”... read more

How edge computing compares with cloud computing?

The importance of understanding a workload continues to be a strong determining factor to where a service is deployed, and this is one of the biggest differentiators of how edge computing compares with cloud computingThe main driver of these discussions is the continued interest in the use of containers and kubernetes as the best way to enable easy workload and service flexibility... read more

What companies are using edge computing?

Let’s look at some of the highest-ranking applications that use edge computing: 

  • Pixel streaming (VR goggles or gaming)  
  • Trackers on cars and vans, and vehicle automation and safety systems 
  • Automated maintenance or warning systems on building plant and machinery 
  • All types of AI and Machine learning, medtech, fintech, pharmatech 
  • Voice & facial recognition and assistance 
  • 5G and wireless information 
  • Smart cities, smart homes, smart cars etc ...read more