The computing edge is still the center of attention as the hype transitions to a more mainstream reality and its role as a key digital accelerant is cemented. Indeed, by inherently bringing the computing power closer to the user and application with a precision and control that drives savings and performance, the edge emerges as the ultimate buffer against today’s data onslaught which demands a level of agility only matched by watertight resistance.
The nearly instant analysis and interaction generated when small computing devices are integrated in the very edge of the network makes the data in this fertile space more valuable and easier to control, a fluidity no better illustrated than in the complex environs of the industrial context.
Here, strategic use can transform data flows across dangerous and demanding terrain, at the most remote of sites from wind farms, mining operations, to ocean drilling rigs, where vast volumes of data are generated and become more of a bane to keep a handle on.
A snapshot of the sheer scale involved is illustrated by the modern locomotive, where some 200 sensors collect gigabytes of data and process over one billion instructions per second. It’s a momentous task that becomes significantly simpler and faster when the data is managed on the periphery, a simple shift in location which translates to multi-billion dollar savings.
Away from the vast industrial machines and systems and needs of enterprise customers, the average person’s experience of this space is inevitably on a much smaller scale—the intelligent connections which bring a surge of power to the smallest connected devices, the gizmos and gadgets which increasingly define our daily routine.
The commonality with both ends of the spectrum is the end user visibility that grabs our attention. However, the effects can be just as profound out of sight. For example, under the radar but just as impactful, is how the digital edge is driving the performance of the hybrid cloud, culminating in a profitable and productive union that takes the natural agility of both elements and drives it to whole new levels.
Here, central to the success of edge deployment is its ability to minimize risk to tackle the security concerns that can routinely temper the cost cutting and efficiency benefits, that Holy Grail of a successful cloud deployment.
In choosing a hybrid cloud infrastructure, businesses have been lured by an opportunity to tap into both the public and private clouds and have done so on the logical premise they are getting the best of both worlds. Yet a knock on effect of this particular approach can be the creation of cloud silos that trap core data.
Shifting the cloud architecture from a centralised model to the edge results in a better distribution and an environment better equipped to deal with the kind of system failures that can prove to be so costly.
By removing the single point of failure, disruption is limited to the point in the network where the blip or bottleneck has occurred as opposed to the entire cloud implementation and is the kind of intervention which can result in a major competitive advantage, enhancing reliability as well as speeding up response times.
All in all, the case for the edge is undoubtedly compelling, but dumping it in situ is not enough for the magic to happen. To fully flourish, this space demands stability. It’s a challenge that is spawning the new breed of compact and nimble solutions which are taking seamless connections to the next level by enabling the business to augment their intelligence.
It’s a development borne out by TIBCO’s Project Flogo, one of the first design bots for the IoT edge application development which pushes smart technology into the actual devices themselves so that even a light bulb can carry its own processing power and make its own decisions. It’s an example of how interconnecting everything—however small—is becoming necessary to deliver the control needed when handling the swathes of data that are increasingly the norm as the lines between the physical and digital worlds blur to the point of oblivion.