One of the leading topics in the data center industry these days is edge computing—but what is it exactly? In terms of data, edge computing is both the location and the way information is processed and supplied. Instead of content being rocketed off to the cloud at a data center hundreds or even thousands of miles away, those servers are literally on the edge of the devices being used because they are in closer physical proximity.
Initially, edge computing was seen as a way to ease the high bandwidth traffic to those distant cloud servers. Over time, it’s developed into much more, and is perhaps the answer to many exciting challenges as the Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time applications become increasingly prevalent. Data Center Frontier reports that edge computing is on the rise, with 44 percent in the data center industry utilizing edge solutions or planning to in the next year. Here, we explore what makes edge computing so compelling as well as what needs to be addressed to really make it work.
Fast Content Delivery
While some argue that edge computing is less expensive than the cloud because bandwidth can be costly, for others the most exciting thing about edge solutions is the speed, according to Network World. When edge computing is doing its work, data is being processed and delivered nearly instantly. The implications for applications like self-driving cars, virtual or augmented reality, and other artificial intelligence, like drones, is absolutely worth investigating.
It may seem obvious, but the time it takes to deliver needed data from one point of a network to another increases when those points are physically far away from each other. In some cases, waiting for content to load can be irritating, but in more serious scenarios it can also be costly for companies and individual users. Even giants like Amazon and Google have calculated the loss in revenue because of latency challenges.
The Internet of Things and Real Time Application
Processing IoT has given edge computing a big push. More and more users are relying on mobile and smart devices in homes and businesses, from hospitals to warehouses to retailers. In fact, “traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for more than 63 percent of total IP traffic by 2021,” according to recent research by Cisco. Millions of users access IoT data every second, so imagine the impact that has on bandwidth. Edge computing provides quick results, particularly when it comes to real-time applications, which go hand-in-hand with IoT.
What does edge computing look like? When compared with massive data centers, it might seem small, but the fact is, there are several different kinds of configurations for edge solutions. An edge cloud could be just hundreds of yards away from devices and users, such as servers at an energy processing plant or in the basement of one’s office park. The truth is many in the industry surmise edge computing is finding its feet right now, so to speak. The size and cost of each edge situation depends on the needs of the users it’s serving.
Security and Privacy
As edge computing grows and changes, users must pay attention to the way content is delivered. Data breaches are not to be taken lightly, nor are the physical security aspects of servers and facilities. Virtual private networks should be factored into the decision of going to the edge. These are issues that will need serious consideration when deciding whether or not edge computing makes the most sense for a particular business.
If you need support navigating changes to your business related to edge computing or large-scale data center migrations, give us a call: Silverback Data Center Solutions.