Edge computing comes in many flavors, but in basic terms it’s about pushing computing power closer to where it’s actually being used by the end user. Cellular technology on towers and infrastructure deployed at a retail store to support operations on-site rather than through headquarters are good examples.
The benefits of edge computing are many:
Some applications perform better with the computing power being closer to the end user.
Take for example, video games.
Today’s gaming consoles are usually connected to the cloud in some form, which means in a competitive multiplayer match, the player is pressing buttons on the controller, that controller is talking to the console, and that console is communicating with the cloud.
If the latency is high for the player, then the game falls out of sync. By having the infrastructure (console) near the player, you help ensure that latency is reduced as much as possible.
Everything fails at some point. When it’s something like the connectivity to the backend of your cloud service, the results can be disastrous.
Think of a restaurant relying on POS systems. If that POS requires a constant connection to the cloud provider and that connection fails, the restaurant will probably close up for the night.
Edge technology solves this potential problem by placing the necessary infrastructure for POS transactions inside the store itself, so if the connection fails the doors can stay open.
Cloud native apps and edge computing
Apps that are cloud native—which is to say, apps that are built on cloud development principles like containers and microservices—are still beneficial to edge computing. They also make edge solutions more dynamic.
As with cloud native apps that are actually in the cloud, those running at edge are able to be developed, iterated upon, and deployed at a much more accelerated rate.
This not only reduces the time it takes for new features to be launched, it improves overall quality for the end user since fixes and updates can be made much more quickly. In addition, when connections are lost between the edge and the cloud, the apps at the edge are still up to date.
To learn more about leveraging the cloud for your business, download our free resource Into the Blue: How to Succeed in Your Path to the Cloud with Microsoft Azure.
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