Understanding Edge Computing Technology (And Why It Matters)

We’ve come full circle. From storing data locally to moving it to a centralized data center, then connecting to the cloud, and then to a multi-cloud system, data processing is now coming back down to earth. In order to provide the real-time experience today’s consumers expect, their information needs to be close at hand – on the edge. The catalyst is the growing volume of data and the evolving complexity of applications. Whereas the internet (as originally conceived) is fine for remote information sharing, research, ecommerce and other applications where latency is not an issue, it is woefully inadequate to handle the interactivity demanded by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, telemedicine and more coming applications that require a nanosecond response. Edge computing is transforming how these and other services and information are delivered to end users and customers.

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is a distributed computing concept in which some of the data collection/processing elements of a network are placed closer to the physical location of end users for faster responsiveness and increased agility. Rather than waiting for a centralized data center to receive and process requests, the edge computing model employs a network micro data centers with limited processing capabilities to act as mid-points between users (and sensors, smart devices and Internet of Things appliances) and the central cloud.

What Are The Benefits of Edge Computing?

Today, the edge is all around us and it’s getting closer than ever before. It moves with us as the network detects our location and routes our queries and data through the nearest cloud for reduced latency. Instead of communicating with a server farm located 3,000 miles away, the central cloud can spin up a copy of the accessed file or application and move it to a micro data center located only 100 miles away to vastly improve performance. Edge servers not only perform some real-time data processing, built-in popularity algorithms and AI capabilities analyze our latest search request to predict our next move and queue up related products and services or trending topics for a better-than-real-time experience.

For residential consumers, the edge means a faster, more reliable link between users and their personal information, news and entertainment. For small businesses, edge computing means faster access to their data and applications and better network agility through ISPs/CSPs. Even large commercial enterprises with their own private networks are migrating to the edge to improve the experience and productivity of their internal customers, aka employees.

The Future Of Computing Is On The Edge

Going forward, digital enterprises, Internet Service Providers and Cloud Service Providers need to invest in edge computing technology to deliver the experience that will engage users and retain them as long-term customers to maximize revenues and productivity. Like anything else, there are risks and rewards associated with migrating to edge computing that impact issues such as speed, cost, security, application performance, versatility and scalability. We invite you to download our white paper, Edge Computing: Get Closer to the Cloud, to learn more about the advantages edge computing provides over traditional forms of network architecture to deliver a better user experience.