The aim of computing is to do maximum work within a very short span of time and we are finding new ways to improve the efficiency of the existing computer systems. In our endeavour to increase the efficiency of our computer systems, we keep developing new technologies and one of them is cloud computing, where we store data essentially at one central location. Depending upon the requirements, the processing can also be carried out at a remote location so that the solution becomes a cost-effective one for home and office uses. However, just like the moon has scars, every technology that we develop and come across, has to suffer from its problems. The same problem goes with cloud computing as the complete load is handled by a centralized server which can sometimes get overloaded in demanding situations
One solution to get over the problems associated with the overloading of centralized servers in cloud computing is to distribute the load across multiple computer systems and that’s when the concept of edge computing comes into the picture. Edge computing is a comparatively new paradigm of computing that is based on distributed computing, and it has a number of advantages over centralized computing that is implemented in cloud computing or other models and paradigms of computing. Today I will talk about edge computing and the advantages of each computing over other modes of computing which is the reason most enterprises and companies worldwide are shifting to this new paradigm of computing.
So, without any further delay, let’s get started with the concept of edge computing, and then I will talk about why edge computing is a solution to today’s technology requirements, followed by the advantages of edge computing over other modes of computing.
What is Edge Computing?
To understand the concept of computing, it is important to find out what exactly is necessary to a user when it comes to the computing of the modern-day. Data needs to be processed, and the storage or display of the processed data follows that. Through edge computing, processing and storage are brought close to the place, where the data needs to be accessed by the user which eventually improves the overall performance of the system.
For example, if there is a production hub, and the raw materials are located close to the production hub, manufacturing can be done faster compared to, if the raw materials were far away from the manufacturing hub.
That is the basic definition of Edge computing. For example, if there is a centralized server where data is stored, and it also processes the existing data depending upon the demands, edge computing can do magic here. Furthermore, if there is a certain set of data that needs to be processed multiple times and it is required by a chunk of users at a certain location, edge computing can be implemented to store that data locally so that if the uses in that region need to process the data, the processing doesn’t need to repeat itself and can spit out the result immediately. This can be time-saving, and can also save a lot of computing resources.
Edge computing is implemented to reduce the number of hops for one packet of data to reach its destination so that the activity can be carried out quickly. This would have taken more time if the packet had to reach the central server which can be located at a location very far away, typically in a different country, depending upon the service that a user is using. In the case of distributed computing, the servers are placed in different geographical locations to reduce the load on the central server. However, in the case of edge computing, the servers are additionally placed close to the users to deliver optimal performance.
Now, let’s have a look at why cloud computing is used and the advantages of edge computing over cloud computing or any other form of computing which relies on a centralized server to carry out all its tasks. From the definition and the implementation of distributed computing, the advantages might already be clear to you, but still, I will elaborate if you are the most important advantages here.
More speeds across a broad spectrum of services
Speed not only offers a competitive edge, but it can make systems run more efficiently and that’s where edge computing has the maximum advantages over cloud computing and other centralized forms of computing. If edge computing is implemented to accomplish some task it will not need to rely on a centralized server, and thus, a lot of time can be saved which can range from a few milliseconds to a few minutes depending upon how much load the centralized server is handling at an instant. When it comes to implementing edge computing in healthcare, every second count. It can thus, save numerous lives, and improve the overall healthcare system. When it comes to businesses and banking, it can make the customers wait less and this will eventually help boost customer satisfaction and reliability.
In the case of different other services, where minimum latency is an important aspect like online gaming, edge computing can create new breakthroughs in those sectors. Low latency which leads to more speed can also be useful in a number of other technologies like IoT-based systems and other fields of technology where higher latency is the main concern and is the most problematic bottleneck.
More scalability to businesses
It can be difficult for a company to comprehend the IT requirements in a company beforehand, and it can be it is a stupid task to invest in a centralized server that might not be functioning at its full potential at the beginning of the business or at other times. With the help of edge computing and cloud computing to some extent, an organization can set up IT Solutions based on the current requirements. However, if more resources are necessary after the business starts functioning, more resources can be added to the system which eventually offers more scalability and flexibility to the requirements of the organization.
Additionally, with the help of edge computing, big businesses can also set up localized servers depending upon the demands in a specific location. With increasing requirements, the localized server can also be made more efficient with additional resources, and resources can also be exchanged between multiple localized servers whenever it is necessary. Thus, when scalability is an important aspect of computer systems, edge computing can be the most absolute solution that most enterprises can ponder on.
A balance between security and convenience
The systems that are implemented for edge computing do not have enough resources and there might not be enough options to enforce the best security measures. But that shouldn’t be a bothering factor. Centralized services are vulnerable to Distributed-denial-of-service or DDoS attacks, which can disrupt the complete functioning of a system and an entire organization. However, with the help of edge computing devices where storage and processing power is distributed among multiple systems in different geographical locations, disruption due to a single attack isn’t possible.
Additionally, as most data is handled locally for processing or storage, any attack on the centralized server is not going to affect the data that is being handled by localized service in different geographical locations, or by the central server, if there is any. Even though the services that are implemented for edge computing have less processing power compared to that of the centralized server, the edge computing service providers in the edge data centers can offer specialized tools to improve the security of the overall system that is present within that particular data centre.
More reliability than other systems
If there is one thing that impacts the smooth functioning of an organization, and also customer satisfaction, it is the reliability of the organization. When an organization depends on IT solutions, the reliability of the IT solutions and its implication plays an important and the most vital role. As I just mentioned, how secure edge computing can be, the same is also the reason why edge computing is more reliable compared to that of cloud computing or other paradigms, where storage and processing are done in one single location.
In the case of a centralized server, there is a risk that the server might fail, and if that happens, all the users served by that particular server will be unable to get service. Depending upon the number of organizations a particular data center is serving the implication can be large. Additionally, if the server isn’t designed to handle a sudden surge in demand, a centralized server can also stop functioning at all in that case. However, as the servers are distributed across different geographical locations in edge computing, it is going to impact a fraction of users if one such server fails. So again, reliability is a big reason why edge computing is a better solution.
As I just discussed earlier, how the high scalability of edge computing can be a huge solution for enterprises, edge computing systems are highly versatile at the same time. Not all organizations have the same requirements, and the centralized computing framework might not be the most optimal solution for all the organizations. For example, a content streaming platform functioning worldwide can use edge computing to cache specific contents in servers of a particular geographical location depending upon the demands.
The same concept can also be implemented in online gaming as the matches can be hosted by a server close to where the participating players are located. All these will reduce the load on the centralized server, which otherwise, would lead to low speeds and high latency, which I have already discussed, and that will have a negative impact on how the users will consume content. It is up to the organization about how the servers will be located across the globe to optimize content delivery. This level of versatility can hardly be achieved in computing systems based on the centralized paradigm.
Edge computing undoubtedly offers a competitive advantage to organizations over the use of cloud computing. The future of computing is all about IoT and most of them will be powered by AI. Low latency and huge data transactions need to be handled as tactically as possible, and that’s where edge computing can do a fortune. The scope of edge computing is huge and I will also discuss that in another story.
So, that was all about what edge computing is, and the advantages of it. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.