Everything you need to know about edge computing

What is edge computing?

Edge Computing is localised computing for systems away from the primary data centre that need extremely reliable performance and connectivity. Although cloud computing has absorbed some remote, localised computing needs, it is not always a good fit because of performance characteristics or network connectivity issues.

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Edge computing should directly satisfy the local computing needs of remote locations away from primary data centres with lightweight compute systems or micro-data centres. Some examples of these remote computing applications for edge computing are remote or branch offices, retail locations, manufacturing facilities, medical facilities, and mobile locations such as ships or mobile ocean platforms.

Why is it important for business? What are the benefits?

Edge computing is hugely beneficial for businesses with the biggest example being remote and branch offices (ROBO). These organisations face a great challenge in working away from the main office on multiple devices, while still being required to operate efficiently and effectively.

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Businesses can benefit from reduced latency with instant access to data onsite and edge computing opens up the possibility of real time data analysis in remote locations. Businesses can also benefit from enhanced AI and IoT.

How can companies successfully integrate edge computing into their operations?

Micro-data centres are a big part of fulfilling edge computing needs. This is essentially on-premises technology scaled down to suit specific business models. It’s critical to ensure IT infrastructure can operate on site, from within the largest spaces to small remote sites if we are to embrace the benefits of edge computing. Connectivity and network connection can be challenging in remote locations, but by bringing data locally on-site the associated latency is eliminated.

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It’s also important to ensure easy and rapid deployment, high availability, disaster recovery, ease of use and remote management. Although not all edge computing use cases are the same these are common requirements that remote sites will need.

Will edge computing be useful or necessary as GDPR approaches?

GDPR has an interesting connection with edge computing – with the increase in personal data being created by different consumer devices, like smart watches, smart cars and homes, it is possible that hosting this data in the cloud could leave room for GDPR infractions. There will also be questions as to who is responsible for the data – the consumer, the watch provider or the vendor? Instead, by implementing edge computing the data is stored onsite, within the local on-premises data centre, restricting access and guaranteeing control.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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