Virtualization Technology News and Information
Is Edge Computing a Threat or an Asset to the Cloud?

By J.J. Kardwell, CEO at Vultr

As the rise of edge computing continues, many have seen the numerous applications and benefits it provides the industry firsthand. However, the lingering question remains: just how much of a threat is edge computing to the cloud? Is it possible that edge computing and the cloud can work together to give businesses the most comprehensive approach to infrastructure?

Here's what we know:

Edge Computing vs. Cloud Computing

Depending on workload, there can be several benefits to utilizing edge computing over the cloud. According to Automation World's 2021 Cloud & Edge survey, adoption of edge and fog computing technologies significantly increased since pre-pandemic. The survey saw edge computing deployments rise to 55% as compared to 43% in 2019. This increase may be due to companies seeing the full effect of the edge, as it provides efficient run times for apps and better performance across the board if several devices are being used at once.

These benefits may be deemed extremely helpful for use cases in the gaming industry. With real-time multiplayer gaming, users are extremely sensitive to latency. In a multiplayer game, there is an increased demand for immediate response times, which edge computing can provide regardless of where the players are streaming from around the globe. By bringing players to the edge, this gives the enhanced real-time experience with minimal interruptions or lag that many players are looking for.

The healthcare industry is also perfect for many edge computing use cases, including the ability to process data locally to maintain data privacy. Currently, many monitoring devices store data on a third-party cloud that presents security concerns. Edge computing relays real-time notifications on patient behavior and health trends straight to practitioners, which could help to better serve their patients and provide a better experience overall.

However, there are a few instances where the cloud does have principal advantages over traditional edge computing. In fact, Automation World's 2021 Cloud & Edge survey also found that 62% of companies are currently leveraging cloud technologies as part of their digital transformation strategy, an 11% increase from 2019.

Today, cloud computing and storage provide, for all intents and purposes, "unlimited" scale and capabilities to help users with their digital transformation strategies. Cloud computing has a robust ecosystem of industry-standard software that can be leveraged to build sophisticated applications. It can also help users to access their stored data faster and more efficiently, all while eliminating the need to house or maintain a physical server. On the other hand, edge platforms today are often proprietary applications that require purpose-built apps.

Can There Be An Edge-To-Cloud Transformation?

Traditional edge computing has been known to accelerate and distribute content and apps, working to improve availability and performance. Since its inception, edge computing has always been complementary to cloud computing.

The next generation use cases for edge computing continue to increase the demand for cloud computing, a classic example being autonomous vehicles. These vehicles are edge computing devices that transfer data to centralized cloud infrastructures for training of deep learning models. Cloud services then transfer the trained model back to the edge compute systems on the autonomous vehicles. The edge and cloud compute services work together to create a unified solution that would not be possible without the capabilities of the other. Although edge and cloud computing work together in most cases, we are continuing to see a blurred line between the two.

Instead of the edge and cloud competing against one another, these two computing methods should work together as the foundation for entirely new kinds of applications. It's this "best of both worlds" approach that will enable a whole new generation of applications, with unprecedented functionality, performance, and reliability.



JJ Kardwell 

J.J. Kardwell is the CEO of Vultr and has over 20 years of experience in the SaaS, IaaS, and technology industries. At Vultr, J.J. is responsible for providing strategic leadership and optimizing the company's overall performance.

Published Tuesday, December 28, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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