Why Now is the Time for Businesses to Consider Edge Computing [Q&A]
The tech world never stands still for long and staying in touch with trends is important if you don’t want to be left behind.
In recent years, we’ve seen migrations to the cloud and to DevOps, trends that show no signs of slowing down. But there is now a tendency to put computing power at the periphery, closer to users.
So is the edge the future of the enterprise cloud? We spoke to Amir Hashmi, CEO of managed IT services company zsah, to find out.
BN: Why is it time for companies to consider edge computing?
AH: The entry point for companies wanting to use edge computing has never been lower. With the maturation of the cloud and the tech industry as a whole, solutions take up less space than they ever have, and the cost of hardware has come down dramatically, making it more accessible to everyone. businesses. For example, edge computing can be delivered from a device as small and inexpensive as a Raspberry Pi.
Applications are now designed to take advantage of what edge computing can provide, with more uses appearing every day. Skills in this area have evolved and are available as a service.
Another boost for the edge, and another factor related to the technology’s ever-shrinking footprint, is that large enterprises now have more available capacity in their own data centers due to the use of public cloud services. Instead of decommissioning old on-premises servers, these can be repurposed for other edge use cases running alongside their cloud function.
BN: Can you give us examples where the advantage can make a significant difference?
AH: Where there is a real-time need, the high-speed computing edge can deliver high-quality results. An example where edge computing has a significant impact is the transport sector, more specifically health and safety in a seaport. Using AI-powered computer vision at the edge of a video stream will assess the movement of goods around a port and ensure the route taken is correct and safe, and goods are not stored in dangerous/secure areas. It also ensures that it does not endanger human beings and coordinates the routes taken to avoid collisions.
In manufacturing, edge computing can be used to avoid wasted materials in processes such as glass blowing. Time and temperature are key factors because if either is exceeded, the glass will shatter, not only wasting materials and money, but also a potential health and safety hazard. .
BN: How does the edge relate to cloud strategy?
AH: Edge computing and the cloud go hand in hand. Edge computing augments the capabilities available from a cloud solution, with the ability to deliver data and transactions in milliseconds. Different parts of the solution will be in the cloud or at the edge as needed: Near real-time decision-making processes will be at the edge, then the archiving of that data will go to the cloud and be stored and available for query or used retrospectively.
Kubernetes applications are an important player in this regard, as they are agnostic, so they can run on the edge, public, private or on-premises and are easily portable. Edge computing is already being adopted and becoming (or already is) available through major public cloud providers.
BN: How dependent is Edge on the progress of the 5G rollout?
AH: There are definitely advantages to using 5G at the edge, as 5G at its core proves low latency and high speed as its main advantages. However, the edge is not dependent on 5G, it simply expands the scope of different use cases for an enterprise. For example, an airport has sensors on the runway that need to provide information to their on-site servers, these will need to be connected by fiber and failing that by Wi-Fi. If airports were to use private 5G, that would connect everything everywhere and they wouldn’t have to worry about Wi-Fi connectors, boosters or cabling. 5G would give them access to places they couldn’t reach before, and the ability to use data on-premises and at the edge where fast computing is needed.
BN: What privacy and security issues does moving to the edge raise?
AH: Moving to the edge raises the security concerns that come with an on-premises solution, such as the physical security of the infrastructure and its access. Then we have to consider data security at the edge, making sure that things like secure communications are in place, that data is not sent over the web unless it’s encrypted.
Naturally, companies will need to extend security measures from computers and servers to the edge device – but in effect this is like adding any new device to a network. These are standard practices in the cloud, excluding the previously mentioned physical security, but physical protection of IT assets is nothing new or new.
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