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Edge vs Cloud Computing: The Key Comparisons That Matter
It's commonplace for businesses to manage their workplace operations and safely secure data using cloud computing. However, with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing needs a new companion. Advances in technology bring edge computing to the fore, which shifts resource infrastructures closer to data sources for work to be done where the data is generated. Edge computing offers huge advantages to cloud computing applications by performing data analytics in localized locations. 

To decide whether edge vs cloud computing is best for your business data decisions and activities, it's best to compare the differences between each. However, before we begin comparing edge and cloud computing, let's look at some definitions:

  • Edges - physical environments made up of hardware where data is collected.
  • Clouds - data storage locations created by data centers or server farms.
  • Edge computing - the process of running workloads on edge devices.
  • Cloud computing - the process of running workloads in a cloud.

What is edge computing?

The global edge computing market is predicted to increase in market size from three billion US dollars in 2020 to 12 billion US dollars by 2028. Data science and AI are just two examples of edge computing in operation for faster processing and data-backed decision-making.

Edge computing is a decentralized computing service that facilitates real-time data interactions. Data is gathered from any component, device, or application that collects or generates data. Deploying edge computing reduces server workloads and enables faster access with decreased latency.

By processing data at a network's edge, edge computing reduces the requirement for large amounts of data to travel between servers, devices, the cloud, or edge locations for processing. Edge computing brings data storage and computation closer to the devices where it's being collected, rather than depending on a location that could be thousands of miles away.

The effect of this method is that real-time data is not impacted by latency issues that can affect an application's performance. Businesses can save on computing costs by processing data locally, as this reduces the amount of data that needs to be sent to a centralized location.

Some examples of applications edge computing solutions improve include:

  • Fleet management - by leveraging data to improve fleet performance and reduce operating costs. An edge computing fleet management solution enables businesses to manage thousands of distributed edge infrastructure deployments with limited IT assistance. 
  • Industrial automation - by enabling communications between factory machinery, devices, and other equipment.
  • Predictive maintenance - by gathering information from devices like cameras and sensors to determine potential component failure and boost productivity rates.
  • Intelligent transportation systems - by enabling passenger information systems, tracking systems, and vehicle monitoring to facilitate digital signage.   

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What are the benefits of edge computing?

To summarize, the benefits of edge computing include:

  • Reduced latency
  • Reduced bandwidth usage
  • Improved reliability
  • Increased security
  • Energy cost reductions

Reduced latency

Cloud computing involves sending data to the cloud for processing and analyzing. Because edge computing reduces the amount of latency associated with processing and analyzing data, this minimizes these processes to around a single millisecond - compared to a few seconds in a cloud computing model. 

Reduced bandwidth usage

Edge computing reduces the burden placed on the cloud and data centers by processing and analyzing the data locally. Only essential data is sent to the cloud for post-processing and remote monitoring, which keeps operating costs low.

Improved reliability

Edge computers can be configured as rugged edge computers made from industrial-grade hardware. Designed to withstand volatile environments, these types of computers are tested to ensure 24/7 reliability operations.

Increased security

Because data has less distance to travel, there are fewer opportunities for cyber criminals to intercept data. Security is incorporated into the design of edge computing devices with measures like crypto-processors and hardware-based security.  

Energy cost reductions

Edge computers are often equipped with low-powered SoC (system-on-chip) processors that offer high performance using negligible amounts of power. Businesses deploying large quantities of these devices can potentially save a huge amount of money on energy costs.

Check out this resource to find out more about edge computing at the industry's first free edge computing hub.

What is cloud computing?

The global cloud applications market had a value of 133.6 billion US dollars in 2021 - with expectations to reach 168.6 billion US dollars by 2025.

Essentially, cloud computing is the delivery of computer services across the internet. Services that include servers, databases, storage, networking, analytics, intelligence, software, and more. Cloud computing services are hosted in remote data centers managed privately by an organization or by a third-party vendor.

An example of cloud computing is elastic search, a managed cloud experience that delivers features, support, and security to clusters in the cloud. 

There are three main types of cloud computing - public, private, and hybrid. Public cloud platforms are managed by third-party vendors, who manage all software, hardware, and supporting infrastructures like internet connections. Private cloud platforms are solely used and accessed by a single organization and can be located on-premise. Hybrid cloud platforms combine public and private cloud platforms for data and applications sharing purposes. 

Some examples of applications cloud computing improve include:

  • Finance companies - to detect and prevent fraud.
  • Healthcare organizations - to tailor treatments to individual patients.
  • Social networking platforms - by providing powerful hosting and synchronized storage.
  • Education settings - by delivering virtual workspaces to different learning institutions.

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

The benefits of cloud computing include:

  • Lower upfront costs
  • Simplified IT management
  • Flexible pricing
  • Scalable
  • Easy updates

Lower upfront costs

Cloud computing enables businesses to quickly launch applications with minimal entry fees. Companies opting for a soft launch app strategy can take advantage of cloud computing's fast deployment.

Simplified IT management

Cloud computing solutions typically include IT services to handle all support requests. This approach, similar to outsourcing roof replacement work to a contractor (together with a contract for roof replacement), enables users to take a hands-off method.

Flexible pricing

By paying only for the services you use, cloud computing is cost-effective and offers lower recurring expenses than traditional services.


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Cloud-based architecture solutions offer on-demand scalability options for businesses with ever-changing data requirements.

Easy updates

Specialist IT support takes care of the latest hardware, software and services.

Edge vs cloud computing: Key comparisons

Both edge and cloud computing solutions are reliable, secure and scalable, however, there are some key comparisons to note.

Time sensitivity

Edge computing is superior to cloud platforms for applications that require minimal response times. Edge computing can be used to imitate the perception speed of a human being, which is ideal for agile exploratory testing and autonomous vehicles.

Cloud computing infrastructure is adequate for situations where a response time of a few seconds is suitable. In the example of autonomous vehicles, a few seconds can spell disaster - which is why edge computing that handles time-sensitive data is crucial.  


Cloud computing services are often centralized at large data centers, whereas edge computing is decentralized by nature of processing data ‘at the edge'.


In an edge network, computing resources are located close to end-users. Because data is analyzed within milliseconds, operational efficiency is improved. Specific use cases for edge computing benefit from increased productivity and performance. In addition, server failures during data processing can affect cloud service and cause delays.


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Cloud computing offers businesses more scaling opportunities than edge computing. Scaling up digital workplace examples like data storage and network capabilities is simple with the cloud using existing infrastructure.

The following table explains some considerations for cloud vs edge computing use cases:


Will edge computing replace cloud computing?

Edge computing enables more applications that were previously run on-premise. While it's not likely that edge computing will replace cloud computing, the two can run in parallel harmoniously and complement each other. A combination of edge and cloud computing optimizes performance in enterprise applications.

For example, tasks like regression testing in software engineering allow access to a pool of live networks on the cloud. Add to this task in-built AI and analytics capabilities of edge computing, and this enables quick and valuable data extracts. The overall result is faster performance while retaining only the most important data in the cloud.

This is why the collaboration of cloud and edge computing has huge advantages for businesses in the testing agile methodology industries and even for au domain web hosting providers. Edge computing optimizes internet devices and web applications by bridging the gap between the computer and the source of the data.


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To sum up, edge vs cloud computing  solutions both offer highly reliable and responsive computing architecture.

Consider whether your business needs a real-time data analysis and processing approach (edge computing), or a more intensive analysis of historical data (cloud computing).

The architecture your business most suits is based on the nature of your business and applications. If latency is not an issue, cloud computing offers roughly the same benefits as edge computing at a lower cost with simpler security implications. To increase the overall level of security of cloud computing, you can use cloud email security solutions, for example.

If latency is an issue, edge computing is the superior of the two as a result of its higher speed of processing.

Most businesses that embrace edge computing will use it as an extension and optimization of their existing cloud architecture. A hybrid architecture of both edge and cloud computing will deliver fast data processing on the device level, with the rest of the data processing performed by flexible centralized resources.

Edge and cloud computing solutions both have a wide variety of individual and joint applications now and in the future, and in conjunction, offer enterprises an exciting wealth of IT capabilities. 



Emily Rollwitz - Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing

Emily Rollwitz 

Emily Rollwitz is a Content Marketing Executive at Global App Testing, a remote and on-demand crowdsourced app testing company helping top app teams deliver high-quality software, anywhere in the world. She has 5 years of experience as a marketer, spearheading lead generation campaigns and events that propel top-notch brand performance. Handling marketing of various brands, Emily has also developed a great pulse in creating fresh and engaging content. She's written for great websites like Airdroid and SME News. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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