We’ve been talking about the edge for quite some time now. Would it surprise you, then, that only about 1 percent of large enterprises have been integrating edge computing principles into their projects in 2017? It surprised me. Even more surprising? By 2021, that percentage will grow to 40 percent. That’s significant.
This was one of the findings from a recent Gartner “Maverick” research report titled “The Edge Will Eat the Cloud.” First, some perspective. Gartner’s Maverick Research is “designed to spark new, unconventional insights.” These may not be mainstream thoughts yet, but this area is developing rapidly, as the stat above shows.
We’re especially interested in how the cloud and the edge will develop in the future. The report lists four drivers, in particular, that will force companies to the edge. Below is how we’re already dealing with them today.
When you look at some of the most exciting use cases for the IoT and other connected devices – things like driverless cars and healthcare personalization – performance lags go beyond an annoyance to become far more critical for everyone. Even when the stakes aren’t quite that high, truly interactive technology requires low or no latency to be effective.
Latency across long distances will always be a problem, the speed of light isn’t changing, and data will always have to go through routers, switches and other tech when traversing distances. Simply put, workloads that are data intensive or require many transactions just can’t perform when separated from users.
This is why ClearSky keeps “hot” data – the most active data for the applications that simply can’t afford any latency – close to the user, eliminating the latency issue. Of course, keeping all data at the edge would be a waste of resources. That’s why “cold” data is automatically moved to central cloud facilities, where it can then be archived or deleted after a set time period.
Bandwidth is tied to latency. This is illustrated by one of the report’s other findings: “Latency and/or bandwidth requirements will become critical application deployment factors for
30% of workload deployments by 2021.”
This makes sense. Users and devices generate enormous amounts of data, and that data is only growing. Getting that data to the cloud is complex and can be expensive; after all, the internet today is optimized for downloads. As the IoT progresses and people, sensors and machines are constantly uploading data, this presents a huge problem. On the internet highway, it’s like having one lane dedicated to uploading and five dedicated to downloading.
Because of this, using the internet for uploading isn’t an option for many applications. Consider Splunk, where the amount of data one of our customers analyzes daily has grown by 47 times in the past five years. By extending our resources to the metro edge, it’s never far from users.
As connected devices increasingly rely on interacting with each other quickly and easily, transporting their data off to a distant cloud location is increasingly a non-starter. Latency and bandwidth issues factor in, but it’s also a matter of computing power: by definition, the reliability and access required for a lot of these applications are not public-cloud friendly.
In fact, one of the main purposes of ClearSky’s Cloud Edge offering is to keep data as close to the decision point – the user or device – as possible and ready whenever and wherever it’s needed. This ensures analytics can be performed rapidly, with the least amount of latency.
Privacy and security
For all the reasons we’ve discussed above, security and privacy are even more critical in this IoT, connected-device world. One hack, one bit of data lost, one hour of downtime just isn’t acceptable. This is where built-in offsite backup and disaster recovery, as a fully managed service, becomes essential. The ability to eliminate all secondary disaster recovery infrastructure, as well as all those additional copies of your data, provides a real benefit in this world where connected devices are accumulating an astonishing amount of data every minute.
One of the report’s other critical findings is that “IoT and more immersive, interactive UIs will drive one-third of large enterprises to create or use edge locations by 2021.” Our customers are ahead of the curve on this one. We are constantly expanding our hybrid, edge-based service, bringing ultra-fast performance to more and more businesses.
To learn more about how ClearSky can help your company utilize edge computing for maximum return, contact us.