Where do you host your applications, in the cloud or the edge? Does it matter? We take a quick look at the ‘cloud versus edge computing’ hot debate and explore the main difference.
Enterprises looking to get the most value out of today’s digital transformative technologies – IoT, AI and machine learning – face a strategic decision when it comes to their data management, application hosting and network infrastructure.
The first port of call to support data processing and analysis is usually cloud computing, meaning sending business data to the cloud and hosting applications in connected remote data centres. Accessing data is done via a flexible, scalable and cost-effective model.
By comparison, edge computing involves running applications as physically close as possible to where the data is generated. Edge computing is typically associated with IoT-enabled devices that streamline data instantaneously using sensors. The data analysis is done on-site at the equipment level.
Cloud and edge computing architectures can be complementary. Enterprises can combine the power of the cloud for large applications with the edge computing processes derived from IoT devices. Companies usually rely on data processing and analysis entirely in the cloud, but sometimes performing operations locally through edge computing has its perks.
In automated industries, manufacturing, mining and supply chain, for example in process plants and factories, performing data control and analysis at the equipment level via IoT an edge computing is becoming commonplace.
Enterprises invest in edge computing when building a distributed control system, which is an on-site network capable of capturing and monitoring data flows from multiple sensors for further analysis and operational insights. This constant feedback keeps the network running at optimal capacity and prevents incidents and machinery breakdowns.
Edge computing is spreading from the factory floor to other sensor-enabled equipment, such as wearable devices, and even place or infrastructure. Buildings can also contain networks supported by IoT-enabled devices and processes.
Choosing between cloud and edge does not mean excluding one option in favour of the other. Ultimately the scope of your data usage and application, and important variables such as network speed, connectivity, capacity and processing power should determine which option or configuration fits best your network.
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