This post is a part of our ongoing series on decentralised businesses.
The cloud has been recognised as a revolutionary technology since its inception, offering essential benefits to organisations of all sizes. Factors such as the potential to replace on-site hardware, the convenience of innumerable services accessible through the internet and its interoperability with various digital tools have contributed to its rapid rise in the 21st century.
The cloud has been limited by the increasing demand for faster speeds and improved performance. Companies with dispersed operations or those transitioning to a dispersed model recognise the importance of speed and sophistication in their service providers. For this reason, more and more businesses are turning to edge computing to make the most out of cloud services and maximise their profits.
It is becoming increasingly important for decentralised organisations to utilise cloud and edge computing in order to better serve their customers and provide their employees with the necessary tools to fulfil their roles. Let us explore the reasons for this.
Comparing Cloud and Edge Computing
It is essential to comprehend the difference between ‘cloud’ and ‘edge computing’ before exploring the reasons why these technologies are necessary for modern distributed businesses.
Cloud computing is a form of computing in which a service provider provides certain capabilities via the internet, allowing for greater scalability and flexibility. This concept enables the utilisation of shared server infrastructure to provide virtualised computing resources on demand. In the cloud, there are three distinct types of resources that can be accessed:
Service-Oriented Architecture (IaaS).Online service providers rent out computing power and data storage space to businesses.
Software as a Service Platform (PaaS).Providers offer customers cloud-based environments in which they can develop and deploy applications without having to manage the underlying computing infrastructure.
SAAS, or “Software as a Service” (SaaS).Users have access to a range of beneficial resources provided by different organisations, which can be utilised without the need to download or install anything.
Edge computing is a process that brings computing resources closer to the source of data. This has become increasingly relevant as the Internet of Things has become more widespread, as the rapid data processing capabilities of edge computing are essential for many types of smart, networked sensors.
Edge refers to the peripheral nodes of a network, rather than the central servers used in cloud computing. Through edge computing, data is processed locally, eliminating the need to transport it to distant data centres, thus saving time. This is especially advantageous in contexts which require immediate responses, such as autonomous vehicles and security sensors.
The key difference between cloud computing and edge computing lies in the location of the data centre. Cloud computing utilises a centralised approach, which involves the storage and processing of data on one or more large servers located at the centre of the network. Edge computing, on the other hand, moves this processing to the periphery of the network, allowing for more efficient data processing that is closer to the end user.
There are distinct advantages to both edge computing and cloud computing. Edge computing reduces latency since data does not have to travel far for processing; however, its processing power is limited. Conversely, cloud computing may be slower to process requests but its processing power is virtually limitless and highly adaptive to new requirements.
Having read the above paragraphs, it is clear that cloud computing and edge computing are both highly beneficial and can be used together. This is especially true for decentralised businesses, who may need to utilise both approaches. To explore this further, let us continue our discussion.
As a Team, They Can’t Be Beaten
Cloud computing has enabled telecommuting and decentralised businesses to become a reality. The proliferation of web resources has made distributed teams a viable option. The capacity to work remotely, in real time, and as a cohesive unit has been made possible thanks to cloud-based solutions.
Cloud computing is a great solution for many challenges, but some problems faced by dispersed businesses require more than just the cloud. Issues where reaction time, latency and resources availability are directly linked are particularly critical.
It is essential that we consider edge computing in the context of autonomous vehicles. These cars are continually assessing their environment and reacting accordingly in real-time. They are unable to send the collected data to a central server for processing, and wait for an answer in order to slow down (for example, in the case of a sign warning of an upcoming hazardous turn). As such, a prompt response is necessary.
Nevertheless, the implementation of cloud computing in this context remains valid. Performance data collected and analyzed on centralized servers can be utilized to gain insight and inform the development of navigational systems and their underlying AI. Therefore, an effective collaboration between edge computing and cloud computing is beneficial.
The crux of the situation is that by working together, cloud and edge computing can provide an enhanced user experience. Edge computing will provide a more responsive experience for end users, while businesses can benefit from the scalability of the cloud. This appears to be the most logical move forward in a world where IoT deployment is growing.
When utilized within a decentralized business model, this combination of technologies can offer considerable benefits to both the end user and the organization. Smart sensors powered by edge computing can increase productivity by providing more secure applications and enhancing the primary tools used by workers. When combined with centralized cloud computing, this can provide access to additional processing power, which can further optimize edge applications and experiences.
It is reasonable to expect that remote organizations will move towards the edge in order to achieve better content delivery, increased performance, and reduced latency across their digital environment. This could create a data-processing cycle that could be beneficial to both employees and customers.
Gartner predicts that the percentage of businesses utilizing edge computing in production will rise from 5% in 2023 to around 40% in 2024. This indicates that executives at the highest level of organizations are recognising the necessity of edge computing to optimise decentralised businesses, even as cloud computing remains an invaluable asset.
Industry analysts have identified edge computing as a critical trend for this year. The combination of cloud and edge computing can provide great benefits for organizations and should be explored as a potential addition to existing cloud computing infrastructures.