Edge computing vs cloud computing
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What if data could be processed as close to the data source as possible? Edge computing makes it possible to move real time data processing near to the data source. We’ll provide you with a comparison of edge computing vs. cloud computing so you can understand the differences between them and decide which solutions would be the best for your business. Read more here. 

It is often quite difficult to make the right business decisions and pick proper solutions. The challenge is even bigger when you have to choose between advanced technologies that are complex and not at all easy to understand. If you want to decide upon the best course of action,, you should check out our comparison of edge computing vs. cloud computing. Are they alternative or complementary solutions, or do they maybe have totally different applications?

What is cloud computing?

We have been describing the advantages of leveraging cloud technology. Cloud computing refers to various cloud-based services (software development platforms, storage, servers, etc.). Cloud services are scalable and available in a pay-as-you-go model, so users only pay for resources they actually use. This makes it a flexible business solution that can suit everyone’s needs. And of course, the cloud vendor manages the back-end of the application, so your company doesn’t have to worry about maintaining it.

Cloud computing services also come in various business models: PaaS, SaaS and IaaS. Platform as a Services (PaaS) allows consumers to pay for access to a platform for deploying software or applications on the cloud. If you need a particular tool for your business, you can subscribe to Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. This way you can use a tool hosted in the cloud. If you want to manage and control various operating systems, applications and your own network, you should consider choosing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). 

What do you need to know about edge computing?

It would seem that the computational requirements of companies are constantly growing. When you need efficient, real-time data processing, the most advanced solutions should be applied. Edge computing leverages decentralized computing infrastructure to distribute resources and applications. Edge computing takes place in intelligent devices (IoT) – in the very place where sensors gather and process data. When processing happens at the edge, fewer data have to be transferred to the cloud for further analysis. Such a solution helps accelerate data processing (including analytics). Processing only takes milliseconds when you cut out the middle-man by moving data processing close to the source of data.

Edge computing reduces a company’s operational costs in two ways: by offering a flexible pricing model and improving the speed and efficiency of data processing. It allows a smooth flow of massive amounts of data from the device to the cloud. That makes it more suitable for enterprises that have to analyze great amounts of sensitive data. In fact, edge computing can also help companies to become less dependent on the cloud. 

Differences between edge computing and cloud computing

The most important differences between edge computing and cloud computing are:

  • The types of projects these solutions are suitable for – edge computing is probably the best for organizations that encounter significant bandwidth problems. This solution allows medium sized businesses to reduce expenses on data processing. Cloud computing, on the other hand, seems to be the best choice for projects that involve processing huge amounts of data. 
  • Security – cloud services are secured with the most advanced cybersecurity techniques, so there is no need for additional solutions. Edge computing requires a more comprehensive security strategy. 
  • Programming – for edge computing, many programs, with different running times, can be used. Development in the cloud is a good choice when developing for one target platform and using one programming language. 

What are the applications of edge computing?

Edge computing is of great importance for AI-based solutions. It can be used in autonomous vehicles or any other type of device that requires a massive volume of data to be processed in real-time in order to work correctly and serve its purposes. Any potential delay in a solution like vehicle AI may be too long.

Edge caching improves user experience while using streaming services, for example video streaming services like Netflix. Content that is more in demand can be cached closer to the end-users (audience), so it can be accessed quicker and easier. 

The second possible application of edge computing is the Internet of Things. IoT devices will probably be used widely in homes and businesses. The growing number and popularity of IoT devices can pose a problem in the future for their efficient operation, demanding real-time processing of huge amounts of data. Additionally, the failure of an IoT device or the incapability to perform even some of its functionalities may be very dangerous for users; therefore, its functioning should not be based on cloud computing alone. 

How can a company benefit from edge computing?

A company can take advantage of edge computing in many ways. First of all, in this method, data processing takes place extremely close to the data source. This eliminates or reduces the need for transporting data, and improves the efficiency of that process. A company can be provided with necessary insights faster and thanks to this, gain a competitive advantage over organizations that aren’t using technology.

If the cloud provides organizations with more flexibility, the combination of both cloud and edge computing certainly makes a business even more capable of better adjusting to market demands. With these technologies combined, you can make your services more reliable and your products more desirable. 

A company that wants to reduce costs of doing business and processing data can leverage a local area network for processing information. With access to higher bandwidth and smaller storage demands, for some purposes, the costs of handling data will be significantly reduced compared to cloud computing.

Edge vs. cloud computing – which is the best investment?

Edge and cloud computing can hardly be considered alternatives for each other. The differences between edge and cloud computing make these two technologies non-interchangeable, and they do have somewhat different use cases. Cloud computing equips organizations with more flexibility and enables them to lower operation costs and improve their capability to adjust to market requirements. Edge computing, on the other hand, allows companies to improve the performance of data analysis devices and to make more data-driven decisions with better efficiency. The trick is not in replacing one technology with the other, but in combining the power of cloud computing and edge computing.

As you see, there is no need to abandon the cloud in favor of edge computing. Many organizations give up the chance to gain a competitive advantage because they’re holding onto the notion that they have to select between edge and cloud computing. We will be happy to explain, in detail, how their combination can improve the efficiency of your business and how you can implement this in your company. 

Contact us, if you’d like to learn more about it. 

Author

  • Paweł works with cloud computing technologies, especially as a Data Engineer on the Google Cloud Platform. His favourite areas are data pipeline performance tuning and financial optimization. He loves mountain sports and exciting cuisine.

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