Internet of Things has started to impact every aspect of our daily lives. Our appliances, cars, gadgets, communication devices, tools, and even some of our clothing have become nodes on the internet. By 2020, as many as 50 billion devices will be connected so there will be skyrocketing growth of traffic generated by devices at the edge of the network posing a monumental challenge to our networks and central cloud computing. Thankfully, we can take advantage of the ever-increasing computing capabilities of edge devices to turn them into cloud servers and extend central-cloud capabilities to the edge. Edge cloud to central cloud is like WiFi to Cellular Communication. Just as WiFi carries most of the global wireless traffic today, edge devices will soon manage most of the cloud computing burden.
According to Gartners 2017 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, edge cloud computing is on the brink of becoming an innovation trigger. Microchips and sensors continue to become embedded in everyday objects, making edge cloud computing an immense opportunity. There are billions of potential edge servers today and there will be tens of billions more tomorrow.
An illustrative example: self-driving cars
Self-driving cars have many potential benefits: optimized traffic flow, improved fuel efficiency, reduced accidents, and drivers with more free time. However, a big challenge for self-driving cars is to find a cost-effective way to process the vast amounts of data that they generate. On average, every self-driving car generates approximately one GByte/sec of data which is orders of magnitude more data than the capacity of a 4G base station and an order of magnitude large than a 5G base station. There are no networks in the foreseeable future that can be used to send all this data back to the central cloud for processing. Most of this data needs to be processed locally and only a minimal set of processed data should be sent back to the central cloud for global coordination. Moreover, in order to meet latency requirements to take agile decisions, self-driving cars should communicate in the fastest way possible. This demands instantaneous processing of information and when possible peer to peer communication. This is where distributed edge cloud computing comes into play, transforming cars to data centers on wheels where most of the communication and processing is performed as close as possible to the edge.
In a distributed edge cloud environment, every car can be a set of microservices that can sense other cars not only because of all the sensors but also because their microservices can communicate with microservices of other cars. To make this work, microservices (within a car and between cars) need to form ad-hoc clusters based on scopes such as proximity, network or account affinity. This way, cars can process the terabytes of data as quickly and as efficiently as possible leveraging not only the processing power at the central cloud but also their own collective computing, storage and memory resources in a collaborative fashion with other cars on the road.
Edge cloud computing is the next major computing revolution
Throughout the last few decades, computing has experienced different cycles shifting between centralized and distributed. In the early days, computing was centralized with mainframe computing. In the mid-80s, with the advent of personal computers the industry shifted to distributed computing. In the last decade, we witnessed the move to centralized cloud computing. Many falsely predicted that this was the holy grail of computing and we would move to an era of thin clients where devices would be dumb screens and input devices and all the processing would be performed in data centres in the cloud. This made sense for some applications such as music or video streaming or hosting some software applications. In all these cases, edge devices do not generate too much data and are mostly passive receivers of information.
In the last few years, two major socio-technical trends have contributed to a fundamental change in production and consumption of data.
First, thanks to mobile internet and social media, ordinary people generate massive amounts of data turning them from mere consumers to consumers and producers. For example, today close to 500 million photos are uploaded on Facebook and Instagram and roughly 500 thousand hours of video is uploaded to YouTube daily; this is more than what the three major US networks generate in content over two years!!! This is not a consumer phenomenon but also applies to enterprises; for instance, more than 80% of businesses have started to leverage user-generated content in their marketing efforts.
Second, we have the rapid growth of IoT devices where many new edge devices produce valuable data. There are already 20 billion connected devices, 2.5 billion of which are B2B IoT devices. Over 300M wearable devices were sold in 2017 alone. Many of these devices generate small amounts of data but many generate massive amounts of data; for example, when video meets IoT. We apply machine-learning algorithms to video feeds allowing cameras to recognize people, objects, and situations automatically. There will be phenomenal growth in AR/VR in the gaming industry, and even the enterprise starting with creative applications and quickly moving to brick and mortar industries and manufacturing. Robots will also be producers of massive amounts of data at the edge.
Clearly, we are amid an explosion of data generated at the edge and the tsunami is yet to come. The question is can our communication networks scale to cope with the data generated at the edge? To try to answer this, we can look at two predictors: the Moores law in computing and its equivalent in network bandwidth. History has shown that computing power roughly doubles every 18 months (or hundred times every decade) whereas network bandwidth grows about 50 times every decade. In other words, even if the number of devices do not grow (which they clearly will), the communication network will be the bottleneck for the growth of IoT.
Setting bandwidth aside, many IoT applications such as self-driving cars or tactile control communications in various industries require low latency response. In this case, even if the network capacity is miraculously increased to cope with the data, laws of physics inhibit remote processing of data in the central cloud due to large latencies in the long-haul transmission of data.
So, what is the solution? How can we cope with the explosion of data at the edge and strict latency requirements of some IoT applications? The answer is distributed edge cloud computing. Edge cloud computing means that any device (or node) becomes a cloud server. As much as possible, the data is processed at the edge of a network, as close to the originating source as possible, instead of processing everything in the central cloud. This approach is faster, more efficient, and scalable: data can be immediately analysed and put into action overcoming bandwidth limitations and latency constraints on the network. Edge cloud computing is essential to meet stringent requirements on bandwidth and latency and at the same time minimizes power consumption and infrastructure costs.
Edge cloud computing is a paradigm shift that enables every device, appliance, or gadget to communicate and share resources making them part of the solution for scaling of IoT. It allows drones and robots to harness their collective resources in industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture or mining, delivering real-time data and improving business efficiency. This new computing model will revolutionize the world in ways that we may not be able to predict at this moment.
The great news is that the technology is ready for developers today. mimik has developed a fully distributed edge cloud platform that extends central cloud to the edge: mimik arms developers with a platform to unleash the power of edge devices. mimik SDK solves many of the current challenges that centralized cloud computing alone cannot address. We extend the power of the central cloud to the edge and boost its reach so that bandwidth, latency constraints, and infrastructure cost do not become the bottleneck for the healthy and scalable growth of IoT.
We need a paradigm shift that transforms tens of billions of devices from a challenge to an opportunity. IoT requires a revolution in computing that unlocks the power of connected devices. Distributed edge cloud is the ideal solution to harness computing resources at the edge, unlocking the promise of a smart connected world that will bring massive efficiencies to enterprises and digital freedom to consumers.
Siavash Alamouti, CEO at mimik
Image Credit: Jamesteohart / Shutterstock
- Virtual Network Virtual Private Cloud | Microsoft Azure - March 29th, 2018
- Keeping Your Files Safe in Google's Cloud - New York Times - September 7th, 2017
- 5 Reasons SD-WAN, 4G LTE Are Cloud Essentials - No Jitter - September 7th, 2017
- Canon USA Advances PRISMAsync Color Print Server in Version 5.2, Offering Cloud-Based PRISMAlytics Dashboard ... - PR Newswire (press release) - September 7th, 2017
- HPE Reports Q3 Gains Along With Cloud Deal - EnterpriseTech - September 6th, 2017
- Huawei Releases the New-Generation Intelligent Cloud Hardware Platform Atlas - Markets Insider - September 6th, 2017
- Want to do IoT right? You'll need more storage, networking, servers, and cloud - TechRepublic - September 5th, 2017
- So you're already in the cloud but need to come back down to Earth - The Register - September 5th, 2017
- Nasa: Our demands for repeat presidential election - Daily Nation - September 5th, 2017
- Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi open to moving servers to India - Economic Times - September 5th, 2017
- VMware officially lands on AWS cloud with new management and security features - SiliconANGLE News (blog) - September 2nd, 2017
- VMware-on-AWS is live, and Virtzilla is now a proper SaaS player - The Register - September 2nd, 2017
- Socionext Partners with Advantech to Offer High-Density, Low-Cost ... - Design and Reuse (press release) - September 2nd, 2017
- Municipal adoption of the cloud - American City & County (blog) - August 31st, 2017
- Veeam follows Virtzilla's cloud up the Amazon - The Register - August 31st, 2017
- Where does a business's data live? - Information Age - August 31st, 2017
- IBM cooks up a hardware architecture for tastier cloud-based services - TechTarget - August 31st, 2017
- Tachyum bets on flash storage to re-architect the cloud data center - ZDNet - August 29th, 2017
- Juniper adding microsegmentation to Contrail cloud - TechTarget - August 29th, 2017
- The future of serverless cloud looks a lot like physical servers - TechRepublic - August 29th, 2017
- Demand for server specialists increases, but talent pool is small - Network World - August 29th, 2017
- The pros and cons of cloud vs in house servers - Edmonton - August 28th, 2017
- You Can Now Spin Up VMware Servers in Amazon Data Centers - Data Center Knowledge - August 28th, 2017
- Windows Server 2016 changes prompt a new look at management - TechTarget - August 28th, 2017
- Cloud security market to reach $12B by 2024, driven by rise of cyber attacks - TechRepublic - August 28th, 2017
- Jeff Pulver, Internet Pioneer of VoIP and Entrepreneur Joins ... - Markets Insider - August 28th, 2017
- Google Aims to Boost Cloud Security with Titan Chipset - BizTech Magazine - August 28th, 2017
- Oppo and Vivo plan to move cloud storage to India, following India's new directives on data security - Firstpost - August 28th, 2017
- Digital Deluge on the Cloud - Valley News - August 27th, 2017
- How Can You Improve Document Management By Integrating Cloud-Based File Sharing And What You Need To Know ... - Business 2 Community - August 27th, 2017
- Hitachi rack servers get VMware Cloud treatment The Register - The Register - August 26th, 2017
- CenturyLink enhances VMware-based DCC platform, touts software-defined data center approach - FierceTelecom - August 26th, 2017
- Biz sends apps to public cloud, waves 'bye to on-premises server ... - The Register - August 23rd, 2017
- Druva Raises Another $80 Million - Channel Partners - August 23rd, 2017
- CrashPlan alternatives: How to move to another home backup solution - Macworld - August 23rd, 2017
- VMware shares to surge more than 20% because the Amazon cloud threat is overblown: Analyst - Yahoo Finance - August 23rd, 2017
- AMD Lines Up New China Datacenter Partners - EnterpriseTech - August 23rd, 2017
- How do you bring artificial intelligence from the cloud to the edge? - TNW - August 21st, 2017
- The rice of cloud, avocado of virtualization and salmon of doubt: Let's eat storage sushi - The Register - August 21st, 2017
- 70% of firms face skill shortages for server-based roles - Cloud Pro - August 21st, 2017
- Qualcomm moved its Snapdragon designers to its ARM server chip. We peek at the results - The Register - August 21st, 2017
- Info on 1.8 million Chicago voters exposed on Amazon server - USA TODAY - August 21st, 2017
- Microsoft and Google Give Startups Options to Amazon's Cloud - Fortune - August 18th, 2017
- Cloud is the ignored dimension of security: Cisco - ZDNet - August 18th, 2017
- How AIG moved commercial claims to the cloud - Information Management - August 18th, 2017
- Oracle expands database offering to its cloud services - Network World - August 16th, 2017
- Voices Cloud security from all angles - Accounting Today - August 16th, 2017
- HostHatch launches new Cloud Servers - 5x faster than the giants, including AWS & DigitalOcean - PR Web (press release) - August 15th, 2017
- Oracle Exadata Cloud lands on bare-metal servers - Computer Business Review - August 15th, 2017
- School phones go on 'the cloud' - The Ridgefield Press - August 15th, 2017
- Datrium Announces Split Provisioning For Simple Private Cloud Consolidation At Rackscale - Markets Insider - August 15th, 2017
- New McAfee virtual network security platform offered as part of free test drive on Amazon Web Services - CTR - August 14th, 2017
- How to move into a cloud career from traditional IT - InfoWorld - August 14th, 2017
- Oracle Makes the Most Powerful Database Platform Available on the Industry's Most Advanced Cloud Infrastructure - PR Newswire (press release) - August 14th, 2017
- Frank Dinucci's Cloud Accounting Workshop Draws Many ... - Markets Insider - August 13th, 2017
- Frank Dinucci's Cloud Accounting Workshop Draws Many Entrepreneurs - PR Newswire (press release) - August 12th, 2017
- Cryptocurrencies have pulled one of Nvidia's most sluggish businesses out of the gutter - Quartz - August 11th, 2017
- GoDaddy tops Q2 targets, revenue up 22 percent - ZDNet - August 9th, 2017
- Hardware Can Still Make or Break the Cloud - IT Business Edge (blog) - August 9th, 2017
- Serverless Architectures from an MSP's Point of View - MSPmentor - August 4th, 2017
- Unisecure Data Centers Offers 15% Discount On Cloud Server Hosting Services - HostReview.com (press release) - August 2nd, 2017
- How The Cloud Will Disrupt The Ad Tech Stack - AdExchanger - August 2nd, 2017
- Packet launches edge compute service in 15 global locations - RCR Wireless News - August 2nd, 2017
- IBM adds Optane to its cloud, only as storage and without GPUs - The Register - August 2nd, 2017
- Joining Apple, Amazon's China Cloud Service Bows to Censors - New York Times - August 1st, 2017
- Cisco Launches New UCS Servers, Hybrid Cloud Management ... - SDxCentral - July 12th, 2017
- Verizon data of 6 million users leaked online - CNNMoney - July 12th, 2017
- Server vendors board the Xeon SP party bus - The Register - July 12th, 2017
- New Azure servers to pack Intel FPGAs as Microsoft ARM-lessly embraces Xeon - The Register - July 12th, 2017
- Hybrid cloud and blockchain solutions will be the future for data backup - Information Age - July 10th, 2017
- New 'Microsoft 365' package bundles Windows and Office for businesses - GeekWire - July 10th, 2017
- Tech Data Tightens Cloud Integration With Microsoft To Unlock Simpler Experience For SMBs - CRN - July 10th, 2017
- 6502 Retrocomputing Goes to the Cloud - Hackaday - July 8th, 2017
- Retail apocalypse may jump start suburban renewal - Lexington Herald Leader - July 8th, 2017
- Evaluating AMD's Server Market Potential - Seeking Alpha - July 7th, 2017
- Data Center Security: How Cloud Services Keep Your Files Safe - Cloudwards - July 7th, 2017
- Cubic Subsidiary Gets NSA Clearance for Cloud Servers With Aruba Virtual Mobility Controller - ExecutiveBiz (blog) - July 7th, 2017
- As cyberattack hit, Ukrainians turned to Facebook and Google - Houston Chronicle - July 6th, 2017
- Baidu Deploys Xilinx FPGAs in New Public Cloud Acceleration ... - Design and Reuse (press release) - July 6th, 2017
- Cloud Computing: What is Infrastructure as a Service ... - July 4th, 2017