Living on the Edge: How Edge Computing is Redefining the Network Landscape
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand, according to the 2018 State of the Network research with 50% of enterprise organizations planning to implement IoT within the next 3 years. As these data-generating devices grow in number, the amount of data they generate will skyrocket. As a result, network professionals are increasing their data management/analytics budget, with 47% expecting it to increase in the next 12 months. Edge Computing will be integral in processing and acting upon this data more quickly. Edge Computing technology allows the processing of information to be performed closer to where it is being collected/generated, and in turn, helps organizations to analyze important data in near real-time, and avoid transferring/storing data that is being collected but not needed longer term. The benefits of this emerging technology are not going unnoticed and organizations are beginning to embrace Edge as part of their business strategy—56% of networking professionals have plans for Edge Computing in their organizations, as shown in the 2018 State of the Network results.
What is Edge Computing?
In any business or industrial situation where collecting mass amounts of data is at play, Edge Computing technology gives organizations the ability to sift through data and determine what needs to be prioritized and sent over the network and the less-pertinent data can be sent to the data center for storage. This helps to minimize the amount of data crossing over the network.
As the Edge Computing market takes shape, there’s an important term related to Edge that is catching on: Fog Computing. Fog refers to the network connections between Edge devices and the cloud. Edge, on the other hand, refers more specifically to the data processing being done close to the Edge devices. So, Fog includes Edge Computing, but Fog would also incorporate the network needed to process data at its final destination.1 Both Edge and Fog computing have the similar goal of pushing intelligence closer to the sensors and devices that are the source of the data, proving to be essential when real-time data analysis is required.
Reshaping the Network
According to the 2017 CIO Tech Poll: Tech Priorities Study, Big Data/Analytics, Cloud and IoT are the top three disruptive technologies that will have an impact on organizations over the next 3-5 years. Part of what makes these technologies disruptive is that they’re creating new needs, like the ability to analyze and act on data in real-time, which require new solutions—like Edge Computing. Respondents to the study also indicate that their organization’s total IT budget is slated to increase for Cloud Services (60%), Machine Learning (55%) and Data Management/Analytics (47%).
From a vendor perspective there’s opportunity for multiple vendors to be part of an organization’s Edge Computing strategy and 75% of organizations plan to utilize multiple providers to deploy their Edge resources.3 Getting in front of network professionals to share their value proposition will be essential for potential Edge vendors.
There’s no denying that Edge Computing is forcing change within the network and consequently business models will need to evolve in order to keep up. Increased processing power and efficiency along with reduced costs and improved speed are just a few of the benefits to look out for as the Edge Computing market takes shape.