What is the Edge and why are we all talking about it?

Edge Computing Today

Article from Issue 234/2020
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After the cloud came the Edge. We take a look at the Edge computing phenomenon and attempt to assess what all the fuss is about.

Edge Computing is a popular term in the high tech media, and, like many buzzwords that rise to claim a place in the limelight, the term "Edge" appears to have emerged fully formed before the industry settled on a clear definition for what it is. So what is Edge computing, and how does it differ from other approaches? How is Edge computing related to IoT or other contemporary technologies? We decided it was time for a visit to the Edge.

Beyond the Cloud

For years now, large cloud providers have attempted to entice customers with the benefits of managing their data and infrastructure from a central, cloud-based location. For many companies, the cloud means abandoning their own on-premises data center and instead trusting their data to AWS, Azure, or another cloud company. The goal of the cloud is centralization. The data is all in one place, managed by experts with economies of scale. Security, fault tolerance, and other essential tasks are handled from the central facility. In many cases, all the data and processing power for an entire company might be in one or two locations, with branch offices accessing it from all over the world.

Edge computing is the exact opposite of this centralized cloud paradigm. The goal of Edge computing is to provide similar cloud-like services, but to move computing resources to the farthest edge of the environment – geographically close to where the data is gathered and accessed.

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