Data is at the centre of business.
Collecting and analysing data is becoming easier, especially with the influx of IoT devices.
But storing and handling that data is becoming an issue. Speed and security is an issue for most big data projects. Storing data in the cloud can slow the delivery.
This is where edge computing comes in.
Edge computing, or fog computing, is a new way of processing tasks to make the information easier and faster to process.
What Is Edge Computing?
Edge computing processes data nearer to the user. It is often positioned on the edge of your network, but can also be a network positioned in closer proximity to your users than cloud can.
This can be faster than sending the information to a data centre or the cloud to be processed then back to the users again.
However, edge computing isn’t really the opposite of cloud. Edge should be included in your larger cloud computing architecture.
Edge computing is paving a new path through digital transformations, meaning even small companies are creating their own mini data centres to handle data – especially with the rise of GDPR and the threat of more fines.
Why Do We Need Edge Computing?
Using the cloud is very useful. Gmail, Dropbox, Office 365 and more have been making life easier and work more seamless.
Storing and delivering networks in the cloud is still highly recommended. But there will always be tasks where having an edge setup will be advantageous.
There are 3 main applications for edge:
1. When every second matters
2. When tasks are bandwidth guzzling
3. When business-critical tasks or sensitive data need to be separated from the cloud.
How Does Edge Computing Help?
Edge computing helps in a variety of ways. It’s making IoT integration a lot easier and paving the way for new technology. It takes the volumes of data that IoT connected devices spit out and helps process it without sending it externally.
Edge Reduces Latency
Latency is the measure of time between you asking your network for information and the reply to come back.
In some cases, latency could literally be life or death.
For example, driverless cars.
Your car senses an object in the road. It sends a message to the cloud server and waits for a response. The server tells the car it’s a hazard and instructs the car to steer around it.
This process could take a split second.
But at 70mph, that split second could be too long. A data processing server in the car will be much quicker, and not so prone to a strained network when there are too many cars on the road.
Latency can also mean closing or not closing a deal on the stock market. It could be a hospital device not reacting fast enough to a patient’s body. It could be taking too long to analyse security footage to catch a criminal.
But it could be as simple as needing to process a huge amount of data, such as thousands of files. Shaving off a nanosecond off every file could save a lot of time in the long-run.
Unfortunately, data centres aren’t impenetrable. If someone wants that data, they will get it one way or another.
But, storing that data at the edge can make it harder to get to. The edge servers do not even have to connect to the internet or a network all the time, meaning data can be isolated.
The edge network can process information and only send the necessary information to the cloud. If your cloud network is attacked, sensitive data is safe.
It also allows you to have far more control of the security of that data too. You have full control of how secure the servers are, but with an external data centre, you may struggle to find out which security measures they use.
If your cloud gets hit by a DDoS attack, then your network goes down. But your edge server can keep vital services up and running in the meantime.
If your cloud server goes down, it could take critical operations down with it. Edge could save you. By running your business-critical services through a separate backup server, it means
Examples Of Edge Usage
So, now we’ve established what edge is, let’s look at what it can be used for.
As we’ve already established, latency can be life or death to a driverless car. Having all the processes happening within the vehicle itself can allow for instant decision-making which can have life-saving consequences.
Oil and Gas Refineries
Remote refinery rigs need to be monitored at all times – from safety levels to machine performance. These machines can be monitored in real-time by users on or off the rig, and by machines. These measures allow for emergencies to be handled quickly and often before they become an issue.
Video and Media Production
Videos are bandwidth heavy. Sending up huge raw files to the cloud can be usage intensive and slow down even the most robust networks.
Edge can allow for processing to happen closer to the creation, meaning videos could be scaled down into previews to send over to central storage.
Machine-learning could be put in place to analyse the data and results could be sent through to be stored, which is useful in the case of CCTV or other surveillance footage.
Content Delivery Networks
On the internet, speed is a necessity. Every second of load time sees website conversion rates drop by 12%.
So, getting a webpage delivered quickly is a necessity.
Content delivery networks help deliver content to users quickly. They have edge networks all over the world which serves up content based on geographical location. By moving the content closer to the user, the time it takes to access the content drops.
If you are looking to deploy edge solutions in your company, Comms Express can help. Contact our friendly team of experts so they can help you find your perfect solution.