What is Edge Computing and Why Does It Matter?
Let’s start with the first question, what is edge computing? We’ll touch on why does it matter later.
Here’s how Gartner describes edge computing: “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge – where things and people produce or consume that information.”
In today’s world, businesses thrive on data. It delivers business insight while supporting real-time control. IoT devices, for example, collect data in real-time, often from remote locations. And they do so virtually anywhere in the world. Indeed, this IT solution evolved mainly from the exponential increase in IoT devices.
Edge Computing Puts Data Closer to the User
Traditionally, data storage takes place at a centralized location. Edge computing, however, is like buying real estate, location matters.
So, it takes data and moves it closer to the devices using it. The close to the user, the better. As a result, that data proximity reduces latency, improving application performance. Equally important, it reduces network traffic.
In a nutshell, the technology allows users to access data locally rather than from a storage facility thousands of miles away. For example, an edge gateway accesses data from an edge device. It then sends only relevant data to the cloud, reducing bandwidth requirements. Devices include sensors, computers, smartphones, security cameras, or other devices.
The bottom line is that the number of devices and the data they generate today far exceed the capabilities of a central data location. Consider, for instance, that Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise-related data will be created outside centralized data centers.
It all comes down to a simple notion – if you can’t get data closer to the data center, get the data center closer to the data.
Some Insights into the Technology
The IBM Institute of Business Value surveyed executives in collaboration with Oxford Economics. It found:
- 91% of organizations intend to implement edge computing
- 84% indicated that edge applications have a positive influence on operational responsiveness
- 75% stated they would invest in AI to create new business models at the edge that combine intelligent workflows, automation, and device connectivity
- 54% use edge computing for energy efficiency management
- Most survey participants expected an ROI of more than 20% over the next three years
Data like this reinforces this technology’s role in creating opportunities for any organization. You can access the report, Why organizations are betting on edge computing.
A Look at Some Applications
Let’s take automobiles, for example. Autonomous cars require real-time data transmitted quickly. Edge computing does that. Any delays in receiving that data could be catastrophic.
Moreover, Toyota presents the amount of data transferred between the vehicle and cloud as reaching 10 exabytes by 2025. That requires networks to accommodate vast traffic.
The most prevalent form of this IT solution is gaming. Gamers can’t afford any level of latency. Other uses for the technology include security systems, video conferencing, in-hospital patient monitoring, content delivery, predictive maintenance, virtual reality, and even smart homes.
The concept of smart cities demands this approach. Smart cities seek to create and maintain a data-driven environment. They use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve operational efficiency, share information, and improve citizens’ service.
Why Does Edge Computing Matter?
With an understanding of edge computing, let’s move on to why it matters. Essentially, it offers an effective IT solution to networking problems caused by moving ever-increasing data loads.
And it addresses both load and time. Applications dependent on processing and time-sensitive responses demand this kind of implementation.
Edge computing presents several benefits.
- Better Performance: Edge computing delivers faster response times. For instance, devices spend less time waiting for data packets to move back and forth.
- Bandwidth Relief: All networks have limited bandwidth. Yes, you can increase it, but that requires added costs. Edge computing reduces the volume of traffic flowing to and from a centralized server by having data at the network edge. That helps eliminate bottlenecks and unnecessary processing tasks. Caching high-demand content in regional data storage facilities, for example, puts less strain on networks.
- Better Data Management: An edge computing infrastructure improves data management through a combination of local devices and data center resources. It processes data locally and only passes on specific types of information resulting in fewer processing resources.
- Improved Security: Because the technology uses segmented networking, you have less risk of a global shutdown. If a breach occurs in one area of the network, you can take that compromised network offline without impacting the network as a whole. In addition, you can encrypt data and harden the edge against cyber-attacks by using endpoint security best practices.
- Greater Reliability: Edge computing distributes tasks throughout your network. So even if your core server goes offline, other essential services can still be delivered owing to the combination of local processing with regional edge data centers.
Edge computing allows organizations to operate numerous devices over a smaller and more efficient LAN. As a result, locally-based storage collects the data, and local servers perform analytics.
Need Some Help with Edge Computing?
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Get in touch if you’re looking for a managed IT services provider near you to help implement your edge computing solution. We understand small businesses and their specific needs. We’ll support you with IT solutions designed to drive your success.