cloud vs. edge computing

Edge computing has recently started popping up in conversations about the future of cloud computing. Advances in cloud technology have primarily been driven by increasing demand for scalability and agility in the business world. The possibilities opened up by edge computing have also developed in response to these needs along with the budding Internet of Things (IoT) revolution.

Does that mean edge computing is set to eventually replace cloud computing? Probably not. Here’s why.

The Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

We’ve covered the basics of cloud computing before, so we’ll be brief here. Fundamentally, cloud computing work by storing and processing your network data on a network of centralized servers, generally at an off-site data center (or multiple data centers). However, cloud platforms can vary greatly, ranging from private to public clouds with hybrid cloud falling somewhere in between.

The key advantages of cloud models are that they allow you to quickly scale network resources as your business evolves. Since a cloud platform allows you near-instant access to additional network storage, your organization can minimize the infrastructure upgrades and capital expenses required to upgrade your network.

Of course, there’s ultimately a tradeoff for on-demand scalability: network and data processing speeds. This tradeoff has become increasingly apparent with the rising of IoT technology, and edge computing is moving in to fill that void.

Where Edge Computing Fits In

While cloud computing offers the advantages of rapid scalability for growth-oriented businesses, cloud technology often sacrifices speed to make scaling realistic. As enterprises move toward deploying IoT technology, the need for both scalability and speed has become increasingly apparent. That’s because IoT devices generate a lot of data and that data has to be processed somewhere.

When it’s processed on the cloud, it takes time to transfer data from where it’s generated to where it’s processed. Additionally, transferring massive amounts of data requires additional network resources that slow down other operations. Ultimately, a cloud architecture is not the ideal environment for deploying IoT technology.

The solution? Edge computing opens up the possibility of processing data right where it’s generated. As the name suggests, edge computing moves critical data processing systems to the “edge” of the network. By structuring a network so critical data is processed right where it’s generated, network latency is minimized. At the same time, the demand on networks is minimal, so IoT devices can respond faster and more efficiently.

The Implications of Edge Computing

While the technology may seem far off today, tomorrow will be here before we know it. The implications of edge computing for future technology are immense. As automation systems become more prevalent in day-to-day life, edge computing makes these systems more viable and safer.

Autonomous vehicles, for example, require nearly instantaneous data processing and decision making to keep passengers and bystanders safe. With the power of edge computing, autonomous vehicles can collect and process data with virtually no latency, thereby making life-saving decisions in a split second.

For businesses operating in manufacturing, edge computing offers the ability to monitor, optimize, and refine processes in real time right on the manufacturing floor. Of course, edge computing resources can be balanced with cloud systems for more data-intensive processes that aren’t as affected by data transfer delays.

If you’ve used a video streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, chances are you’ve already used edge computing to some extent. That’s because video traffic is anticipated to make up 82% of all network traffic by 2022, and providers are looking for strategies to deliver video content closer to end users. As a result, video streaming services are utilizing cloud computing technology to provide on-demand content while continuing to expand the user experience.

Edge Computing and Cloud Computing

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer in the sense that there is little competition between edge computing and cloud computing at the moment. For the foreseeable future, businesses will rely on both to stay ahead of the latest technological developments. That’s because the two technologies are intended to solve two distinct problems. By combining the scalability of the cloud with the powerful data-processing capabilities of edge computing, businesses will be able to use technology to expand operations and refine processes like never before.

Los Angeles IT Support

Is your organization interested in exploring the possibilities edge computing can open up for your operations? Or are you still planning your cloud migration? Either way, the experts at Be Structured are here to help your Los Angeles business achieve your true technological potential. Contact our team today to start developing your IT roadmap for the future.