“The Edge Will Eat the Cloud,” according to Gartner’s Thomas Bittman. Can this be this correct?

Edge computing is one of the fastest growing segments of technology today – with projections it will be a $6 billion market segment by 2002 with an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 40%. Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power (services) away from centralized points to the logical extremes of a network. Edge computing replicates fragments of information across distributed networks of web servers, which may spread over a vast area. As a technological paradigm, edge computing is sometimes referred to as fog computing, mesh computing, peer-to-peer computing, autonomic (self-healing) computing, grid computing, and by other names implying non-centralized, nodeless availability.

The fact is that today, the cloud still continues to eat enterprise data centers. More and more workloads are born in the cloud, and some are transforming and moving to the cloud. But the emerging Edge trend will undoubtedly shift workloads, data, processing and economic value significantly away from the cloud. The edge will eat the cloud – or at least the cloud as we know it today. 

So if not the cloud, what and why. Well it seems that the list of edge computing technologies really can, if not replace the cloud, at least shift the current cloud adoption. As well as technology, some non-technical issues are making it difficult for the cloud – security and compliance, latency, bandwidth and user autonomy. 

Security & Compliance are Not Cloud-Friendly

Possibly the most serious concern is not technical but legal. Security and compliance has stopped many businesses from even adopting the cloud. However, as you might expect, edge computing will solve this problem too. Personal information can be processed locally under the security requirements implemented by the business rather than sending off this information to the cloud where security might not be up to snuff (even if advertised as such).

Peer-to-peer is back. Especially hybrid versions of the original application have been taking off. Many consider Blockchain to be a hybrid application of peer-to-peer. It certainly has moved the concept in a very different direction – and a very successful long-term trend is emerging in the financial sector around Blockchain.

But it doesn’t stop there. Basically, the following reasons are why the cloud as we know it has to change.

  • Its expensive and corporations don’t need any more storage – they just need to share information more securely
  • Based on the quantum data loads that are emerging, today’s cloud can’t meet long-term scaling requirements. 
  • The cloud, EFSS or private, is centralized and vulnerable, and requires file transfer/duplication to work which increases the threat surface
  • It makes organizations — and their data — sitting ducks.
  • The cloud, private or EFSS, is really fairly expensive and limits productivity

So, if the cloud’s days are numbered – what next? Edge Computing is a concept where we move computation that's currently centralized inside the cloud back to the edge in a distributed manner. Doing this provides key benefits that make it superior to traditional cloud architectures.

The Edge Trend

It looks like there is a growing need for edge computing solutions – if not to fully replace the cloud – to augment it and provide highly secure remote access and sharing without an expensive and unproductive cloud infrastructure.  That’s what we will be searching out – solutions that are changing the way we do things – whether it’s internet of things (IoT) applications (shared everything), file sharing, collaboration – almost all applications will be effected by this emerging edge enterprise infrastructure. That’s why we decided to start the no cloud required conversation – on our site and on LinkedIn. Whether it’s AI, shared devices, shared data – shared everything. As the new “Maverick” research division of Gartner commented. “ It's time to start thinking about the next fundamental IT architecture trend after cloud computing. The edge will flip the computing paradigm, pushing processing and storage to the edge. And over time, the edge will eat the cloud.”

By Philip Bliss