There is a fundamental magnetism between edge and cloud. The cloud lifted data storage and compute operations out of the on-premise data centre and re-located them in bigger, safer, better-provisioned and well-managed facilities. Doing that made it possible to share resources and lower costs. The downside is the bandwidth required to move the data back and forth between client and cloud, and the non-trivial latency, which needs to be taken into account.
Bandwidth, latency and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Like any much-travelled highway, the network is subject to traffic jams. Latency is the delay caused by these traffic jams. The IoT represents an entire universe of dispersed digital devices, virtually all of which generate and/or collect data, the bulk of which requires processing, the faster the better, preferably in real time. These far-flung devices send data to the cloud to get processed, then travel back to the device of origin. Outcomes are not reliable if there are traffic jams.
Edge and cloud: a new partnership
By putting the computing power where the devices are, also known as the edge, the traffic jams can be stopped, network traffic can be minimised, and real-time insights are gained for better critical business decisions. Improved security is an added bonus.
According to Microsoft, edge computing will deliver greater security, better compliance, lower IoT device costs, and faster response times In some ways, that’s future speak. The advantages of today’s development efforts will deliver on tomorrow’s deployments.
Moving computation to the edge has the immediate dramatic effect of eliminating a lot of network traffic and speeding up what remains. If we can actually get data to the data centre intact and in time, that will renew the useful applications of cloud computing. These will lean more toward provisioning, managing and storing than to processing.
Applications for SMEs
Bringing this closer to home as it relates to print infrastructure and print management for both 2D and 3D printers, an edge device can perform tasks like user authentication, system state monitoring and print job processing locally and only the job metadata is sent to the cloud. This resonates with the underlying edge concept of processing data as close as possible to the point of collection.
More and more, businesses will be turning to the cloud and this makes the adoption of edge technology even more valuable as critical processing needs to be done in real time.
Ondřej Krajíček, Chief Technology Strategist, Y Soft