This article looks at how edge computing and cloud computing complement each other, and how they will play key roles in the computing domain in the coming years.
By Nijhum Rudra and Deepshikha Shukla
The most important reason why companies are moving their workloads to the cloud is because of security, scalability and flexibility. By the end of 2022, the overall market of edge computing is speculated to reach US$ 13 billion globally, according to Gartner. This is possible because companies are now extremely tech savvy and there is a true understanding of the advantages of cloud computing. Also, the negative perceptions related to the cloud are getting wiped out. A majority of companies are agreeing to test their heavy IT workloads in the cloud and some are even moving entirely to cloud computing. By 2025, as per Gartner, 75 per cent of data will be processed on the cloud, globally.
A new research report by Grand View Research Inc. states that at a CAGR of 37.4 per cent the market for edge computing is expected to reach US$ 43.4 billion by 2027, globally.
5G and IoT will play extremely important roles in this growth. Various apps that will use 5G will completely change the pattern of online traffic, leading to very high demand for bandwidth and, hence, to the use of more sophisticated technology by telecom providers.
Markets and Markets, a platform offering market research reports, has claimed that by 2022, the overall global edge computing market will be valued at around US$ 6.72 billion, having grown from an approximate US$ 1.47 billion in 2017—a CAGR of 35.4 per cent. The best way for companies to make their top-notch IoT devices run swiftly is to amalgamate edge computing (and its data-gathering potential) with the cloud’s storage space and processing power. This can also make their IoT devices run efficiently without losing any critical analytical data.
The need for edge computing (EC) and cloud computing (CC)
On the road to cloud computing, data centres will have to modernise and extend their networks to be able to provide resources more flexibly. This changes the way networks are designed, built and monitored. As space is often very limited, ultra-high density is a ‘must’ when providing all required connections. The most crucial benefit of edge computing is its ability to enhance network performance by reducing latency. Analysing data closer to the edge provides huge benefits in terms of cost and efficiency.
The benefits and the potential of EC and CC
The US based global tech firm Cisco predicts that by 2021 around 94 per cent of the global IT workload will be handled by cloud data centres. It is well known that when it comes to investments in cloud computing, the USA tops the world. And by 2023, Reportlinker states the entire cloud computing market will cross US$ 623.3 billion.
This is what the experts say about the benefits of EC and CC.
Gaurav Burman, VP and APAC president, 75F: Any business using IoT devices can benefit immensely from EC and CC. Because of thesenew-fangled technologies, retailers are able to depend on a 24/7 online presence to offer enhanced customer service, factory floor operators stay connected to plant systems, the operational efficacies of manufacturers
are getting enhanced; healthcare professionals have reliable access to possibly life-saving, health-related data; and smart buildings are redefining the way we work, live and play. From IT, financial markets and e-commerce companies to utility providers, smart cities and governments, EC and CC are impacting nearly every organisation.
Anjani Kommisetti, country manager, India and SAARC, Raritan and Servertech (brands of Legrand):
Any business that is customer experience-centric, is using IoT, or investing in 5G for their operations will benefit from edge and cloud computing. To name a few – the automation industry has popular use cases including large engineering simulations, data and dealers’ networks, equipment and data analytics, etc. In the retail sector, information gathered through edge computing, like customer purchase behaviour, plays a key role in retention and building loyalty. These technologies have also greatly benefited the healthcare sector by improving nursing efficiency through the tracking of mobile medical devices, wearable fitness devices, and the optimised use of medical equipment. Sectors like agriculture, BFSI and logistics have also implemented these technologies, and businesses are realising the potential.
Adrian Johnson, director -technology at TechnoBind: Edge computing is benefiting sectors where IoT devices are used specifically for profit, and is being utilised across the board in every related industry; e.g., in artificial intelligence, smart cars, manufacturing plants, smart cities, and other ‘smart’ objects. The healthcare IT infrastructure is benefiting from edge computing as it helps to prevent application performance latency issues. Education, law firms, emergency services, travel management and entertainment management are industries that need access to their technology tools anytime, anywhere.
|This is what industry experts say about the need for EC and CC.|
This is what industry experts say about the need for EC and CC. As the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising businesses and technologies, the number of connected devices to the Internet is increasing exponentially. In fact, Gartner estimates the number of connected IoT devices to be around 25 billion in 2020, which in turn is generating massive amounts of data to be processed and mined. Traditionally, it would take time for the data to travel from the device to the processing centre, and all this data travelling back and forth will also put a strain on the bandwidth. EC offers a solution to this problem by relocating crucial data processing to the edge of the network. EC enabled devices can gather and process data in real-time, allowing them to respond faster and more effectively.
As per a report, McKinsey estimates that India will see a 40 per cent growth in the number of Internet users to reach between 750 million and 800 million by 2023. More Internet connectivity means an unimaginable increase in data. As IoT devices become widespread and more efficient, enterprises will need to adopt successful computing architectures to maximise the potential of this technology. By integrating EC with centralised CC services, both methods will optimise capacity while reducing business constraints.
EC is suitable for operations that have extreme latency issues. It is like a mini data centre helping in decreasing latency of work. CC is more needed and is viewed as a solution that has flexibility, data recovery, no maintenance and easy access. The only concern is security.
Today, data centres must be capable of reacting to change efficiently, and in an agile manner. Data traffic continues to grow exponentially, boosted by IoT, 5G, intelligent transport systems, and an ever-increasing number of wireless connections. Edge computing will allow IoT deployments to significantly reduce the data storage issues by only sending useful, post-processed information to the cloud. By combining the data-acquiring potential of edge computing with the storage ability and processing power of the cloud, companies can keep their IoT devices running quickly and efficiently without compromising on valuable analytical data that could help them to improve services and drive innovation. On the road to cloud computing, data centres will have to modernise and extend their networks to be able to provide resources more flexibly. Nowadays, edge computing is preferred over cloud computing in remote locations, where there is limited or no connectivity to a centralised location.
Market scope of edge computing and cloud computing
The amalgamation of 5G networks and IoT devices is going to dramatically change the deployment methods of computing workloads. Hence, at this moment, the important
thing to consider is to craft state-of-art data centres that will offer decades of operational life. Also, edge computing has the potential to boost efficacy and can reduce response times. It can lessen the cost of operations because a central server is not needed to examine the data. This data can be stored later in the cloud and, with the help of Big Data analytics, can be processed to drive growth and innovation.
Cloud computing has made it possible for companies to have access to huge amounts of computing resources in a short time, with great ease and flexibility, without making costly investments. CC also allows companies to host platforms, software and databases remotely, which helps in freeing up memory and computational power on the company’s individual computers. On the other hand, edge computing systems spread all stages of data processing between various devices, such as sensors, transponders and cameras, making the whole network safer than a cloud computing network. Moreover, EC stores and transfers sensitive or important data remotely, making it safer than it would be on a cloud. Edge based IoT devices gather and analyse data close to the source, which greatly reduces the transferring time and latency, allowing organisations to use the data in real-time without any delays. EC needs very little bandwidth, and hence can easily operate in conditions with limited connections, without hampering overall business operations.
The future of EC and CC computing
With the massive advances in science and technology, cloud and edge computing will lead to faster computing, while decreasing the cost of operations and improving the performance of IoT devices.
With the world moving towards smart devices, the demand for these technologies will increase further. Between 2019 and 2023, Technavio states that the CAGR of the global edge computing market will be 41 per cent.
Cloud computing enhances accessibility, provides virtual storage space, solves backup problems, and offers security against unauthorised access and data loss. It is not only helping businesses to adopt trending technologies like AI, ML, advanced analytics and immersive media, but also complementing the seamless adoption of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS technologies. According to Forrester, the global edge computing market is projected to increase from US$ 2.8 billion in 2019 to US$ 9.0 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 26.5 per cent during the forecast period.
The Meticulous Research report predicts that the overall market of edge computing will grow at a CAGR of 34.9 per cent from 2019 to reach US$ 28.07 billion by 2027, while cloud computing is going to be more important across the enterprise world.
By moving analytics to the edge, organisations will get immediate insights and results from IoT devices and sensors. Edge computing models and business digitisation are going to become key components for many IoT initiatives. Both the technologies can be leveraged symbiotically to create a balanced and efficient business model.