Edge and FOG Computing: Alternatives to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been helping businesses and organizations improve data processing and analysis, but now edge and fog computing are increasingly becoming popular alternatives.
While both interact with the cloud, both fog and edge help to speed up the transfer and analysis of data while reducing the costs of data storage. Here is a quick guide to both types of computing, and the benefits they bring to a business.
Edge Computing Explained
Edge computing occurs at the edge of a device’s network, hence the name. It involves a computer receiving data from a connected network of devices, which it then processes and sends to the cloud in real-time. The computer is the ‘edge computer’ or ‘edge node’ and can receive and transmit data to the connected devices instantly.
This computing method speeds up the data processing and transmitting aspects compared to dealing directly with the cloud. However, edge nodes also only process and transmit complete batches of data received from connected devices, regardless of the importance of the data. It would only be possible to speed up the transfer of data if unimportant data was filtered out, which is where fog computing comes in.
Fog Computing Explained
Fog computing can be described as an extension of cloud computing, with its name a reference to this, as fog is like a cloud but closer to the ground (or IoT devices). Fog computing acts a mediating layer between an edge computer and the cloud. When an edge computer transmits a large amount of data to the cloud, a fog node receives the data first and conducts an analysis. Important data is then prioritized and sent on to the cloud, with the less important data either remaining with the fog node or being deleted entirely.
Fog computing thus saves a lot of storage space in the cloud and helps speed up the transfer of important data by filtering out unimportant data.
Benefits of Edge and Fog Computing
The manufacturing industry uses a lot of both edge and fog computing as alternatives to cloud computing. They help manufacturers reduce downtime and to increase production output and thus profitability. Both edge and fog computing can also help decrease production costs and reduce waste.
The healthcare industry has made great use of edge computing as it improves personnel productivity through activity monitoring while enhancing drug tracking procedures. Plus, as with other industries, edge computing can improve energy management as well as optimizing inventory management.
Any industry reliant on tracking logistics greatly benefits from fog and edge computing, with real-time data processing helping improve efficiency and productivity by tracking equipment and workers. Both fog and edge computing are also used in retail to improve the customer experience. Data can be processed and analyzed faster allowing retailers to act quicker in order to provide customers with more personalized experiences.
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