Arriving at the edge of cloud computing

The cloud reimagined by edge computing and influenced by IoT

Cloud computing can be best described as a centralized data center remotely running thousands of physical servers. All devices that need to access this data or use applications associated with it first must connect to the cloud. Since everything is centralized, the cloud is generally easy to secure and control while still allowing for reliable remote access.

As IoT devices become more common and require more processing power, an increasing amount of data is being generated on what is referred to as the edge of distributed computing networks. By sending only the most important and least time-sensitive information to the cloud, as opposed to raw streams of it, edge computing eases the burden on the cloud and reduces costs. Put simply, edge computing delivers the decentralized complement to today’s core centralized and hyperscale cloud and legacy data centers.

The edge and the cloud do not compete with one another, and emphasizing edge or cloud computing is not an “either/or” choice, but rather, the adoption model can be viewed as a “1+1=3” opportunity. The relatively distributed nature of cloud and access to scalable compute resources is augmented by the real-time data gathering potential of the edge, reducing efficiency and latency concerns. These latency requirements vary by device and are highly situational depending on the need for real-time analytics and response versus transactional or business intelligence analytics.

More than a decade after the initial transition to the cloud forever expanded the limitations of physical and on-premises storage and compute options, we’ve reached quite literally, the edge of a new era of cloud. Organizations in industries such as telco and manufacturing, among others, will increasingly rely on edge computing to provide a suitable infrastructure and to complement the ongoing adoption of related technologies such as machine intelligence and IoT. The edge should not be viewed as a threat to cloud computing, but rather as the next phase in the evolution, driving increased adoption of the cloud into the next decade.

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