As the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to take shape and its future becomes clearer, IT experts realize that mainstream cloud computing isn’t enough. It’s not fast enough to handle real-time data streaming applications, and it’s not efficient enough to meet evolving technological demands. But developers are exploring a possible solution in the form of edge computing.
What Is Edge Computing?
In its simplest terms, edge computing refers to datasets, applications and servers that exist beyond the standard, centralized access points of an enterprise network. The platform comprises a mesh framework that facilitates local — typically disk-based — storage of mission-critical data while keeping recently received data within a central storage repository for quick access.
There are many benefits to edge computing. From enhanced data security and privacy to reduced connectivity costs, consumers and enterprises alike are considering edge computing for their future needs.
But how does edge computing affect the IoT, and why is it expected to strengthen processing power in the future?
Data Centers on the Edge
Society generates an overwhelming amount of information on a daily basis. According to recent estimates, we produce approximately 2.5 exabytes of new data every single day. That requires a significant amount of processing power and storage space — and modern data centers can’t keep up.
To accommodate increasing technological demands of consumers and businesses, data centers are starting to embrace edge computing. When paired with the IoT, edge computing is set to transform the concept of the modern data center as we currently know it. It’s expected to have several key effects, including the following.
The Dawn of the Micro Data Center
Instead of a few, large-scale data centers spread across a state or country, some data centers are moving toward the micro model. Despite the name, they’re not necessarily smaller. Instead, they’re more standardized than the average data center. Micro data centers are quickly and easily deployed — nearly anywhere in the world — to meet increasing demands and bolster local networks with greater speeds and efficiency. They’re also highly supportive of edge computing functionality.
While there are still some concerns regarding data security on the IoT, some companies already see new success from the BYO-IoT strategy. This way is great to increase the flexibility and versatility of IoT-powered networks and those that exist on the edge, but some data centers require new tools and utilities to monitor traffic flow and prevent cases of employee misuse or outside threats.
Enhanced Data and Hardware Redundancy
The need for redundancy — especially in data centers — is nothing new. If a client’s information is lost, it’s important that data center technicians have access to redundant datasets and backup copies to begin the recovery process. But IoT-powered data centers — with servers that consume more power and generate greater amounts of heat than standard hardware — require equipment redundancy too. IT devices with an ASHRAE class A4 rating are meant to withstand more extreme temperatures than the typical products found on store shelves.
From micro data centers that feature standardized hardware for easy deployment to the increased freedom in device and network connectivity, edge computing and the IoT both have a lot to offer those who are willing to brave the front lines of brand new technology.
Peering Over the Edge
Despite the inherent risks of edge computing and the IoT, they’re quickly becoming necessary in The Information Age. With an obvious need for more bandwidth, lower prices and improved speeds than what the current infrastructure provides, some of the technologies seen in edge computing and the IoT are set to revolutionize the way we do business in the 21st century.