When we think of cloud computing, most of us envision large-scale, centralized data centers running thousands of physical servers. As powerful as that vision sounds, it actually misses the biggest new opportunity: distributed cloud infrastructure.
Today, almost every company in every industry sector needs near-instant access to data and compute resources to be successful. Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power services away from centralized data centers to the logical extremes of a network, close to users, devices and sensors. It enables companies to put the right data in the right place at the right time, supporting fast and secure access. The result is an improved user experience and, oftentimes, a valuable strategic advantage. The decision to implement an edge computing architecture is typically driven by the need for location optimization, security, and most of all, speed.
New applications such as VR and AI, with requirements to collect and process massive amounts of data in near-real-time and extremely low latency, are driving the need for processing at the edge of the network. Very simply, the cost and distance of the hub-and-spoke model will not be practical for many of these emerging use cases.
Make no mistake: edge is not the end of cloud computing; it is the natural evolution. As more devices generate more data and more demand for compute and storage, it becomes more efficient to push cloud capacity to the edge.