Edge Computing vs Cloud Computing: Meaning, Types, Examples & Differences

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edge computing vs cloud computing | iTMunch

Edge computing vs cloud computing – An increasing number of organizations are debating these options. Most people are familiar with the cloud but edge computing is a relatively new concept. The question is, is there a need for a technology like edge computing when cloud computing exists? Should you invest the time to learn more? 

Small, medium and large scale organizations are realizing the power of cloud computing day after day. More than 70% of companies around the world have at least one app on the cloud [1] and more than 28% of a company’s total Information Technology (IT) budget is kept aside especially for cloud computing [2]. In 2018, the global cloud computing market size was valued at $272 billion and by 2023, the market is predicted to grow to $623 billion [3].

These numbers indicate that cloud computing is on its boom and being accepted across the world. However, a new technology called ‘edge computing’ is being deployed by organizations and has a lot of benefits over cloud computing, but what exactly is edge computing? Is it a type of cloud computing or a different technology altogether? If it is different from cloud computing, is it a better alternative and what are the differentiating factors? If you are looking for answers to such questions, we have tried to explain them in this blog. Let us begin by understanding what edge computing is.

What is Edge Computing?

To understand what edge computing exactly is, it is imperative to take the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) and IoT devices under consideration. IoT devices employed in any organization’s infrastructure generate vast amounts of data on the outer edge of computing networks. This data produced is sent to the central network server which is hosted in a data centre and once processed, it is further sent back to the IoT devices out on the edge of the network. Now, there are two issues with this arrangement. One, it takes time. Though it is a matter of milliseconds, it can be extremely critical. Second, the high volumes of data travelling back and forth puts an enormous amount of strain on bandwidth. Additionally, this blend of high traffic volume and distance slows down the network causing network latency which can have serious repercussions on the expensive IoT devices.

Edge computing bridges this gap successfully by relocating all the important data processing to a ‘network edge’. It revolves around bringing data storage and compute power closer to the data sources or IoT devices where it is needed. In this technology, data is not processed on the cloud and filtered via remote data centres. Instead, it is processed closer to the data source, which is called the ‘edge’ of the network. It basically reduces lag-time significantly and saves a considerable amount of bandwidth. The technology can help in lowering dependence on the cloud and enhance data processing speed as an outcome. 

With the increase in IoT adoption, a growth in the edge computing market has also been seen. In 2019, the global edge computing industry was valued at $3.5 billion [4] and by 2027, the size of the same is expected to grow to $43.4 billion at a CAGR of 37.4% [5]. Additionally, survey data suggests that in the next 3 years, enterprises will spend about 30% of their IT budgets on edge computing [6].

SEE ALSO: What is IoT & how does it work? Internet of Things Explained

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