We live firmly in the cloud computing age. Our adoption of the cloud and familiarity with everyday tasks like file sharing and cloud storage demonstrates our reliance on cloud-based processing. While cloud has been touted as the solution to myriad processing challenges, it is no silver bullet. It has its own challenges – bandwidth and latency, both of which have implications on the operational costs for an enterprise as well as speed of delivery of services.
Enter edge computing, which brings compute, storage and networking closer to the source where data is created, enabling faster processing of data and consequently quicker decision making and faster insights. The edge promises to accelerate data processing in the cloud, although it should not be viewed as a cloud alternative. Instead, edge should be seen as complementary to the cloud.
While the early goals of edge computing centered around lowering bandwidth costs and increasing reliability, the growth of IoT-generated data and the rise of real-time applications that require processing at the edge are spearheading its growth. According to Grandview Research, the global edge computing market size was valued at US$4.68 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.4% from 2021 to 2028.
Evidently, edge is now everywhere – and the opportunities for edge computing are extensive.
Happening at the edge
Any industry that generates data stands to benefit from the speed, scale and performance offered by edge computing. Take the financial services sector, where the use of edge computing technologies – coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud and 5G – can provide banks with real-time insights to improve customer experience and enhance cybersecurity.
Edge computing also powers digital cities – enabling everything from intelligent traffic controls to the smart monitoring and management of water, waste and energy. With the help of the edge and AI, cities can even roll out advanced video, sensor and communication systems that offer round-the-clock monitoring of public spaces to efficiently maintain law and order.
Enterprises are in the perfect position to reap the benefits of data-driven innovation and services as 5G cellular connectivity, with its ultra-low latency and high bandwidth properties, takes hold in the region.
Future of the edge
The rise of the internet of things (IoT), smart devices and their synergy with 5G mobile networks have already resulted in the emergence of creative use cases for edge computing.
Strategic partnerships will be key to accelerating edge computing adoption, innovation and progress. For example, Dell Technologies is partnering with SK Telecom in South Korea on infrastructure that enables managed, private 5G network service. The collaboration will help customers use private mobility and edge computing to develop new services where data is created in industries that need reliable high-speed connectivity such as healthcare, retail and construction.
At iNET Corporation, an integrated telco service provider and Dell customer, data from drones and smart sensors is used to monitor construction sites. iNET was able to rollout a real-time edge monitoring solution with a streaming platform situated at a construction site that had no primary data center.
The Dell EMC PowerStore appliance deployed at the edge ingests, stores and analyzes real-time streaming data from the drones and smart sensors to make immediate decisions around resource allocation of equipment, material and people. iNET can also use the data to compare progress of the physical build alongside site renderings. Non-streamed data collected at the edge and sent to the storage appliance can be natively replicated to a larger appliance sitting at the core data center.
While focus is often placed on the edge’s geographic location, it is crucial to note that the edge is not a single entity, place or technology but a combination of components. With 5G technology adoption accelerating globally by 2024, the possibilities are immense, from clouds to edges to devices.
Edge is a “how” not a “where”
Gartner, Inc. predicts that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be “created and processed outside a traditional centralised data center or cloud” by 2025. This will be done in an effort to process higher volumes of data produced by IoT devices and rapidly growing 5G networks.
Dell recently announced new edge innovations across our infrastructure and PC portfolio to help organizations simplify deployments and capture more value from data generated and processed outside the traditional data center and public cloud. These include:
- Dell EMC VxRail satellite nodes to extend automation and lifecycle management capabilities to smallest configuration to date for edge workloads.
- Dell EMC Edge Gateway which connects multiple edge devices across operational technology and IT environments to deliver real-time data insights.
With products and services engineered specifically for the edge, businesses can and will overcome constraints put forward by any challenging edge environment. The future starts today, not tomorrow – at the edge.