From cloud computing to edge computing: Navigating the evolving landscape of IT infrastructure!

Oct 9, 2023 |
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Cloud computing has been at the forefront among technologies that shaped the IT landscape. Its ability to provide on-demand virtual resources, scalability, and ease of access made it highly accepted in the IT infrastructure. As a cost-effective yet efficient approach compared to traditional bulky resource space, organisations were quick to adapt to cloud-based technologies such as storage, computational power, and so on. Undeniably, the introduction of cloud computing to the IT genre was a game changer.

However, some significant challenges came with cloud computing such as the requirement for seamless connection, high latency, centralization, and so on. The emergence of edge computing intended on addressing these issues by providing a “closer to the source” approach, which now holds huge potential to once again shape the IT domain. In this blog, we will delve deep into the evolving landscape of the IT infrastructure from cloud computing to edge computing.

Cloud computing: The paradigm shift of modern IT

The concept of cloud computing began with the notion of “resource over the internet”. Traditional IT organisations had to build, operate and maintain IT resources which were, firstly, quite expensive and secondly a long-term hassle. Not to mention, it occupied a significant portion of organisations’ facilities. Cloud computing cuts those necessities to operation only. Organisations could easily subscribe to a cloud service provider and then carry on with regular operations online from anywhere with an authorised internet connection. Thus soon, cloud computing became a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. The major advantages of cloud computing include:

  • Scalability: Cloud services can simply scale up or down in response to demand, resulting in optimal resource use.
  • Cost-Efficiency: By paying only for the resources they use, businesses may avoid the high upfront expenditures of acquiring and maintaining technology.
  • Accessibility: Cloud-based apps and data may be accessible from any location with an internet connection, allowing for collaboration and remote work.
  • Reliability: High levels of availability and redundancy are guaranteed by leading cloud service providers, lowering the risk of downtime and data loss.
As previously mentioned, despite these significant advantages, cloud computing is not without its challenges. First of all, for cloud computing to function, processes require a seamless connection to the cloud which is not always practical. Secondly, the act of taking data away from the source to the cloud and then delivering it to receiving nodes increases latency significantly, which is not ideal for very time-critical applications. Finally, since all business data goes to a central cloud, the process becomes centralized and prone to security risks. And these are the limitations like these where edge computing comes superior.

Edge computing: The emerging paradigm

Edge computing is an emerging model that tries to alleviate some of cloud computing’s shortcomings by moving processing “closer to the data source.” Edge computing analyses data at the “edge” of the network, near the devices or sensors that create the data, rather than in a centralised data centre. This method has various advantages:

  • Reduced latency: Edge computing reduces the time it takes for data to travel to and from the cloud, which is crucial for applications such as autonomous vehicles and remote healthcare.
  • Bandwidth optimization: Edge computing minimises the amount of data that must be transferred to the cloud, alleviating network pressure and lowering expenses.
  • Improved security: Keeping sensitive data near its origin can increase security and privacy, lowering the risk of data breaches and illegal access.
  • Offline capabilities: Edge devices can operate and process data even when they are away from the cloud, ensuring continuous operations in remote or unreliable network conditions.

Cloud computing to edge computing: Navigating the transition

Considering the benefits edge computing has over cloud computing, the IT world is quickly adapting to the transition to a hybrid state where the benefit of both of these technologies can be harnessed without the limitations in hand. There are several ways business institutions can navigate through this transition. The key considerations are –

  • Workload evaluation: Not all applications are suited for edge computing. To identify which workloads should remain in the cloud and which might benefit from edge deployment, workloads must be evaluated based on latency sensitivity, data volume, and real-time needs.
  • Edge computing infrastructure: Establishing an edge computing infrastructure necessitates careful planning. Businesses must invest in edge devices, gateways, and servers that are closer to end users or data sources. Collaboration with a reputable edge service provider might help to speed up the deployment process.
  • Data management: Working with data at the edge presents new issues in data management. Data consistency, integrity, and security must be ensured across scattered locations by organisations. Using cutting-edge data analytics and processing technologies is critical for effectively gaining insights.
  • Security and privacy: Because edge devices are more prone to physical tampering and cyber-attacks, to protect edge infrastructure and data, robust security mechanisms like encryption, access restrictions, and frequent upgrades are required.
  • Hybrid approaches: A hybrid strategy combining cloud and edge computing is the ideal choice for many enterprises. Based on unique use cases, this technique enables firms to maximise performance, cost, and data management.

Conclusion

Transition is the nature of technology itself. In a fast-paced domain such as IT, keeping up–to–date with emerging challenges is a must. The IT infrastructure had been revolutionised with the introduction of cloud computing but with time as demand for low-latency, decentralised and modular services is on a steep rise, edge computing is being proven as a viable solution. Thus to stay at the edge of the curve, IT organisations and businesses must navigate through this transition to rip the best benefits.
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