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Edge Computing vs. Cloud Computing: Understanding the Difference


Tech innovations have become an integral part of modern business operations. While businesses rely on a wide array of technologies, cloud computing is one of the most crucial. The growing adoption of hybrid working models has accelerated the popularity of cloud computing even further.

But given the fast-evolving nature of technology, new innovations keep rising to the forefront. In recent years, there’s been plenty of buzz around edge computing. It has found its way into various industries, from healthcare and manufacturing to shipping.

But will edge computing replace the cloud? Or can these technologies work together to help companies skyrocket efficiency and make smarter decisions?

In this blog, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more. Let’s dive right in.

Cloud Computing: A Closer Look

Simply put, cloud computing refers to the on-demand delivery of resources, such as storage and computing power, via the internet. Established cloud providers have data centers in multiple locations. These data centers can provide users with hosted services, including analytics, networking, storage, etc.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, organizations get a centralized platform to store confidential data and host business applications. For instance, cloud data warehouses like Druid and Redshift let users collect, process, store, and analyze crucial data to facilitate business decision-making.

They eliminate the need for on-premise hardware, software, and personnel to collect and analyze data. Cloud data warehouses like Redshift separate the storage and compute functions, thus helping organizations with scalability.

If you’re planning to use a cloud data warehouse for your company, it’s a good idea to conduct a thorough Redshift vs. Druid comparison before making the final selection.

Besides simplifying data storage and process, cloud computing helps companies scale their operations as needed. Cloud providers can dynamically allocate resources and computing power based on your changing needs. Also, you don’t need dedicated IT professionals to configure and maintain on-premise hardware and software. That makes it more cost-effective, too.

Also, cloud computing is ideal for operating with a hybrid workforce. It ensures that employees can access business applications and data irrespective of location. All they need is a steady internet connection.

Drawbacks of Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, data from a source often need to travel thousands of miles before it can be stored and analyzed. It results in latency, which can be detrimental to real-time decision-making.

Moreover, transferring huge amounts of data to the cloud requires high-speed internet access, which isn’t always available in remote locations. Also, storing sensitive information in data centers outside an organization’s physical premises makes it more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Edge Computing: A Closer Look

Unlike cloud computing, edge computing moves data storage and compute functions closer to the source (i.e., end users and devices). Instead of processing at a remote data center, edge computing uses smart devices and sensors to collect and analyze data near the edge of a network.

Edge computing is used in various applications, including autonomous vehicles, predictive maintenance, video surveillance, surgical robotics, and augmented reality.

Benefits of Edge Computing

The most significant benefit of edge computing is that it eliminates the need for data to travel thousands of miles. That, in turn, minimizes latency and speeds up data processing. It comes in handy for applications that rely on real-time analytics.

For instance, self-driving cars use a variety of sensors to collect data about traffic and light levels. Machine learning algorithms installed in the vehicle can process that information in real-time to determine the best driving conditions.

Waiting for this data to reach a remote server before it can be converted into meaningful insights can jeopardize the safety of passengers and pedestrians.

Besides facilitating faster data processing, edge computing minimizes the dependence on high-speed internet. Collecting and analyzing data closer to the source is feasible with a local area network. It helps reduce costs and allows organizations in remote locations to reap the benefits of computing.

Furthermore, edge computing doesn’t require sensitive data to be stored on a public cloud. Instead, it confines data to an organization’s local area network, thus reinforcing security and compliance.

Drawbacks of Edge Computing

Edge computing devices usually come with limited storage space. So, they might discard any data that isn’t relevant to their application. It results in data loss that might have provided a deeper insight into specific processes.

Also, it’s worth noting that edge computing is an emerging technology. Organizations adopting edge computing should be prepared for unprecedented challenges in terms of compliance, governance, and integration.

The Way Forward

Both cloud computing and edge computing offer unique opportunities for organizations to improve efficiency and reduce costs. However, the two technologies aren’t mutually exclusive. Instead, you should focus on strategically combining them to make the most of data generated by different processes and systems.



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