Edge computing is rapidly progressing from its inception to practical applications. Consider the following real-world examples of how new business capabilities are being driven. The fundamental concepts of edge computing are straightforward.
Edge infrastructure, like a centralised data centre, provides compute and other resources that applications require, but it brings these requirements much closer in physical proximity to those apps and their data.
So, while the term “edge server” may sound, well, edgy, it really just refers to moving traditional server functions closer to their most optimal location, whether for performance, security, cost, or other reasons.
Three ways to use edge computing right now
With that in mind, consider three examples of how some businesses are implementing and/or utilizing edge architectures, hardware, and applications today (or will soon).
We’ll also include the key takeaways that are likely to pique your interest in additional use cases translated for different industries or organizational contexts. Each should help to connect the fundamental concepts to real-world applications.
- Making remote monitoring and predictive maintenance possible:
Edge and IoT go hand in hand. As a result, there is a lot of emphasis on edge applications in the contexts of manufacturing, warehousing, and supply chain.
Edge infrastructure, for example, is what allows a “smart” factory floor to be outfitted with sensors and other connected devices that generate endless streams of data.
- Increasing application performance and user satisfaction:
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are one of the best examples of edge concepts at work today: they improve many consumer web experiences by bringing web content closer to the person consuming (reading, listening, or watching) it.
This is true for both external and internal customers: Latency is a killer if your users demand speed (which they frequently do). Bringing traditional infrastructure resources as close to where applications and/or data are processed as possible can help reduce latency.
- Implementing new security approaches that are appropriate for modern environments:
Another fundamental principle of edge computing is that it enables a more distributed approach to application and/or business logic. Rather than being tethered to a centralised location, such as a traditional data centre or cloud, the logic moves out to the edge where it is needed.
Similar to the early days of cloud, there will be a lot of hand-wringing about edge security. While security should always be a priority, viewing edge architectures solely from a risk perspective overlooks a significant opportunity: edge architectures can actually improve security.
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