Edge Computing: Why it is important?
With the onset of faster communications technologies like 5G wireless, the road is clear for faster distributed computing paradigms to be implemented, granting businesses better efficiency and speed. We have already talked at length about the benefits of cloud computing. The separation between hardware and software allows both to grow at an independent pace, with a comparatively lesser number of restrictions in terms of computing power and storage space.
“Edge” is another facet of this type of distributed computing. It is a new computing paradigm which combines concepts of IoT and Cloud Computing. It is a way of efficiently utilizing our networks to meet the challenges of latency, bandwidths, and data security.
What is Edge Computing?
A network’s “Edge” is the conceptual area where the device connects with the Internet. It could be an IoT device, or any device which has a processor. Basically, the edge of the network is the geographical area that is close to the device connected to the Internet. Cloud servers, on the other hand, are geographically very distant to the place where computation is taking place.
“Edge Computing” is a new distributed computing paradigm where the software is brought closer to the servers or data storage, in terms of physical location. It involves the use of IoT devices, local computers and edge servers to run applications and computations, instead of putting them onto the cloud. It’s not a complete migration from cloud to local servers. Instead, it involves bringing the computation to the network’s edge, or physically closer to the server. This minimizes the amount of long-distance communication required and thus, allows for the circumvention of latency issues. This in turn, improves the response times and enables the efficient use the available bandwidth.
Benefits of Edge Computing
Latency, in networking terms, is the delay the time a sender sends out a request and for the receiver’s response to reach the sender. It depends on the number of hops required by the request to reach the sender. A hop is the event when a network packet travels from one network segment to another. Each network segment has a router that receives the network packet and transfers it onto the next router in the path. Each router has a delay associated with it, calculated in terms of milliseconds (ms). In general terms, these delays add up to create the latency of a request-response cycle.
Latency depends on the geographical location of the server where the request is being transferred to. As we will move closer to the server, geographically, lesser number of hops will be required.
This is where edge computing offers a key advantage. It minimizes the latency associated with cloud computing and helps increase efficiencies.
2. Data Management
Edge computing allows for more granular analysis and processing of data, as the data is stored locally and can be accessed in real time without compromising the edge application or its performance. Also, as the data can be accessed and managed locally, the bandwidth costs are reduced.
3. Cost Savings
As edge computing helps in reducing the utilization of bandwidth and server resources, the costs associated with them go down. Bandwidth costs money and is a finite resource. Utilizing edge computing helps in optimizing the bandwidth utilization. For cloud computation, large bandwidths are required to support the data stream associated with distributed computing. Edge computing puts pressure away from the bandwidth as the servers are locally situated.
In the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of devices connected to the Internet. There is a ever growing need for faster and more efficient data processing and edge computing offers a unique approach to solve this problem. The edge computing industry is expected to grow to over $17.9 Billion by the end of 2025. As the number of devices continue to grow (IoT devices are expected to hit 30.6 billion units by 2025), so will the call for edge computing increase. The future of edge computing seems to be a ripe one with companies like Google conducting serious research into the probable applications of this paradigm. Let us know of your thoughts about edge computing and its future by posting a comment below.