Are you ready for a pop quiz? Complete the sentence below with the correct answer.
The Edge is…
- a) the famous drummer in the rock band U2
- b) decentralized data processing at the source of data generation
- c) both of the above
If you answered C, you’re correct! For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to focus on B, edge technology. So, what does edge computing mean for your business? Let’s dive in.
What Is Edge Technology?
Edge technology allows data to be processed at or near the place where it was generated. Edge computing drives applications, data, and computing power services away from centralized points and towards places that are closer to the user. This data is processed by a device or by a local computer or server instead of being transmitted to the cloud.
Edge technology relies on a cluster of connected computers located near the data generation source. These clusters are typically made up of low-cost commodity computers. The clusters are designed specifically for storing and analyzing huge amounts of structured and unstructured data in a distributed computing environment.
What Are the Benefits of Edge Computing?
The best way to describe the benefits of edge technology is by contrasting edge computing with cloud computing. You - and everyone else in the world - want speed, reliability, and security in all your Internet-connected devices.
Nobody likes streaming a great movie only to have the screen freeze from a slow network. Nobody likes a slow loading website. Cloud computing requires three steps that slow down your experience.
First, the data that your Internet-connected device-generated must be transmitted to the cloud. When it reaches the cloud, it has to be analyzed on the cloud server. And, finally, the cloud server’s response is transmitted back to your device. This takes time and bandwidth.
By contrast, edge technology allows the data generated by your device to be processed and analyzed by edge nodes. These nodes are located near your device, so the transmission time is minimal. Since the nodes collect data only from nearby or local devices, bandwidth is not a challenge.
The reliability of cloud computing can be threatened if there is a problem with the centralized server. If that one centralized server fails, all the Internet-connected devices that rely on that server lose functionality.
On the other hand, when devices are connected to the Internet through edge technology, they don’t become inoperable with poor connectivity. Edge computing doesn’t require contact with a centralized cloud.
Cloud computing transmits all data collected by devices to a central server. For businesses that transport and store sensitive information about customers, i.e., personally identifiable information, this raises privacy and security concerns.
Cyberattacks occur at points of transport and storage. Reducing the transmission and storage of private information is a key benefit of edge computing. A simple example of this is a smartphone that encrypts and stores biometric information on the device. Keeping this private information off-network makes it more secure.
Did You Say Zettabytes?
By 2025, it’s estimated that over 46 billion devices will be generating almost 80 zettabytes of data. The speed, reliability, and security offered by edge technology are critical for the huge amounts of data generated by our devices. As businesses strive to gather data to better serve their customers, edge technology can help them succeed.