Building your business on the edge

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Building better, faster and reliable services is an obvious priority for all businesses. But how do you deliver a richer, more satisfying user experience for your customers?

Companies are making the move from VMs to containers in order to drive innovation. Most are also exploring Cloud alternatives to their expensive data centres, if they are not already floating on cloud nine. So how, in this cloud based, container driven nirvana, do companies big and small reach more customers and provide a richer service?

One word; ‘edge computing’ – well, two words!

There are a number of definitions floating around; partly due to the nature of the implementation and partly due to edge computing’s relative adolescence. Linux Foundation’s rendition of edge computing seems to cover the basics though:

The delivery of computing capabilities to the logical extremes of a network in order to improve the performance, operating cost and reliability of applications and services. By shortening the distance between devices and the cloud resources that serve them, and also reducing network hops, edge computing mitigates the latency and bandwidth constraints of today’s Internet, ushering in new classes of applications. In practical terms, this means distributing new resources and software stacks along the path between today’s centralized data centres and the increasingly large number of devices in the field, concentrated, in particular, but not exclusively, in close proximity to the last mile network, on both the infrastructure and device sides.

Basically, process and store as much data as you can, as close to your customers as possible. So, if a company is running 10 data centres, across the world users will connect to the nearest data centre or an edge node interface providing relevant data.

Edge computing can provide a service unparalleled by conventional centralised application and infrastructure deployments, allowing companies to better localise their service. They can also uncover greater insights into the types of interactions that are being made and where from.

This type of shift doesn’t just improve services for an end-user browsing their favourite website for the latest memes, it also has industrial applications. For example, providing better accuracy and intelligence for traffic management systems, processing huge amounts of data gathered by IoT devices on the ground, analysing and processing data near the producer and reducing latency for a response.

Another domestic application is in the games industry, with multiplayer gaming platforms processing game data in real-time close to the users. The heavy lifting is done across two or more transitional cloud AZ’s, all connecting seamlessly to provide a high-quality experience in game. This in turn can ultimately reduce the number of inexperienced gamers quitting and blaming ‘lag’ or ‘ping’ for poor performance whilst playing ‘Fortnite’.

Knowing that this exciting new world of edge computing has the potential to improve cloud adoption, mobile first development and IoT adoption, getting started early is important.

Deploying your own edge nodes near your customers globally might be a little expensive, and probably not as good as a massive Cloud provider with very deep pockets. Fear not, Cloud providers such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are offering Edge computing, today!

Get involved with Google Peering and host a node on Google Behave or start using GCP’s established network to improve the quality and reach of your applications and services.

Starting your Cloud journey? Realise the potential of your Cloud platform with a Cloud Health Assessment or SDLC review. ECS Digital can provide recommendations and assistance when it comes to implementation and can roll out concepts such as edge computing and enterprise applications at scale – click here to get your Cloud journey under way.

Morgan AtkinsBuilding your business on the edge

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