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Fog and Edge Computing, 5G Edge Computing Infrastructure

(Jungfrau, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

From Data Center, To Cloud, To Edge 

Edge computing is the next big wave of technology architecture in information management, moving processing power away from centralized and cloud data centers and closer to the origins of physical data. 

With edge computing, each intelligent device - including smartphones, drones, sensors, robots and autonomous cars - shifts some of the data processing from the cloud to the edge. The cloud will continue to be used to manage IoT devices and to analyze large datasets in use cases where immediate action is not imperative.

However, we are not looking at a complete shift. In a similar way that cloud computing has not and will not fully replace centralized data centers, edge computing will augment rather than replace cloud computing. The new paradigm of “processing anywhere“ means that data will be processed where it originates and ingested into workflows aligning with business requirements.

Edge computing will forever alter how businesses interact with the physical world. Whether you consider it revolutionary or evolutionary, it is well on its way to mainstream adoption. Edge computing provides compute and storage resources with adequate connectivity (networking) close to the devices generating traffic.

Due to the increased data collected, both the physical environment of the edge (i.e., processing power in devices), and the virtual capacities (i.e., software partitioned computing machines deployed within purpose-built edge hardware like routers), device servers, terminal servers, and gateways, will evolve.


Fog and Edge Computing

Edge computing is a major driver and key enabler for digital transformation projects. 

One of the guiding principles behind digital transformation initiatives is to achieve efficiency with business workflows. Any additional step in the processing of data and any delay in the processing of digital inputs is likely causing a negative impact. This challenge is amplified by an exploding volume of business inputs from new sources, including IoT devices. 

Edge computing solutions that facilitate data processing at the origin of business data reduce the steps of data handling and, subsequently, increase workflow efficiency.


- Fog Computing

Fog computing is a new computing mode. As a derivative of cloud computing, fog computing can solve the problems of high latency, overloaded center server and overloaded bandwidth of network.

"Pushing computing, control, data storage and processing into the cloud has been a key trend in the past decade. However, cloud alone is encountering growing limitations in meeting the computing and intelligent networking demands of many new systems and applications. Local computing both at the network edge and among the connected things is often necessary to, for example, meet stringent latency requirements, integrate local multimedia contextual information in real time, reduce processing load and conserve battery power on the endpoints, improve network reliability and resiliency, and overcome the bandwidth and cost constraints for long-haul communications.

The cloud is now "descending" to the network edge and sometimes diffused onto end user devices, which forms the "fog". Fog computing distributes computing, data processing, and networking services closer to the end users along the cloud-to-things (C2T) continuum. Instead of concentrating data and computation in a small number of large clouds, fog computing envisions many fog systems deployed close to the end users or where computing and intelligent networking can best meet user needs. Fog computing and networking present a new architecture vision where distributed edge and user devices collaborate with each other and with the clouds to carry out computing, control, networking, and data management tasks.

Realizing fog computing and networking imposes many new challenges. For example, how to compose, deploy, and manage distributed fog services, how to enable highly scalable and manageable fog networking and computing, how to secure fog computing systems, how should the fog interact with the cloud, and how to enable users to control their fog services provided by fog operators. Addressing these challenges necessitates rethinking of the end-to-end network and computing architecture. " -- [FOG WORLD CONGRESS] 


- Edge Computing

Edge computing refers to computing happening at the edge of a network. Various access points define the network edge, hence the name for its architectural standard, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). Multi-access edge computing (or Edge Computing) is essentially a cloud-based IT service environment at the edge of the network. Edge computing is a network architecture that brings real-time, high-bandwidth, low-latency access to radio network information, allowing operators to open their networks to a new ecosystem and value chain. Edge computing permits multiple types of access at the edge, including wireline. Edge access points include cell phone towers, routers, WiFi, and local data centers. 

"Edge computing is the conversion of IoT data to usable information using microprocessors collocated with the sensor, or at the edge of the network. Edge computing reduces network bandwidth, data storage, and analysis requirements. The price is increased power at the mobile device, requiring innovations in energy harvesting and storage. Innovations in edge computing will accelerate new developments across a wide array of applications." -- [IEEE Computer Society]

The benefit of edge computing is the ability to provide new services with high requirements on e.g. latency or on local break-out possibilities to save bandwidth in the network – data should not have to travel far in the network to reach the server. Regulatory compliance and network scalability are also important edge computing drivers.

"There are several interesting use cases related to manufacturing, automotive, and the media and entertainment industries for edge computing and distributed cloud. As an example - the automotive industry with connected vehicles is an industry demanding edge computing. The creation and distribution of advanced maps with real-time data, and advanced driving assistance using cloud-based analytics of video streams are all examples of emerging services." -- [Ericsson]


Going Beyond Edge Computing with Distributed Cloud


- Distributed Cloud

A distributed cloud refers to having computation, storage, and networking in a micro-cloud located outside the centralized cloud. Examples of a distributed cloud include both fog computing and edge computing. Establishing a distributed cloud situates computing closer to the end user, providing decreased latency and opportunities for increased security. 

Edge computing is already a reality. It’s anticipated that a significant increase in connected technology will surge the demand for edge computing to alleviate network traffic. One major contributor to its growth is the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, around 10 percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2025, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 75 percent.”


- Use-Cases

"Many use-cases for IoT and 5G span the device, access-, distributed-, national- and global sites. For example, an augmented reality solution comprises a client on a device, a component supporting video processing, a CDN/caching function at a distributed site and a backend at a national- or global site. This requires a solution that can handle any workload, anywhere in the network, with end to end orchestration. Distributed cloud is doing this - managing different types of sites where the location of the edge depends on the use case." -- [Ericsson]



 [More to come ...]






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