Edge computing, many experts say, is the new trend. Edge computing, in its various formats, is being developed by many big established vendors, e.g. Cisco, Intel, AT&T and by emerging vendors, e.g. Qnext, Crosser, Wirepas. Many with very different edge solutions – which simply shows us how big this approach will grow to. In fact, viewing many of the current growth numbers – I wonder how accurate they are.

Wiki defines edge computing as:

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 also referred to[by whom?] as mesh computing, peer-to-peer computing, autonomic (self-healing) computing, grid computing, and by other names implying non-centralized, nodeless availability.

So, with that definition and the emergence of IoT, edge computing and the real size of the market is very much a moving target that will more than likely be defined by the emerging companies – and rapidly adopted/acquired by the big boys like Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon, etc.

But hopefully with this new trend we will see some of the current start-ups become significant players and drive not only new technologies – but new ideas and management approaches into the current technology framework.

A great example today that now fits into edge is Tesla. Like many (including Google) Tesla is heading toward driverless vehicles – and it has a big head start. In fact as Robert Cihra of Guggenheim recently stated in his large think piece,

“we think EDGE COMPUTING looks like the incremental growth opportunity, increasingly necessary to overcome cloud overhead in latency and bandwidth, to enable billions of new IoT end-points and real-time LOCAL AI/ML for autonomous systems. As applications push processing back out to the edge, we see devices bifurcating into either Cloud Conduits or Edge Computers that will require much more local horsepower.”

According to Cihra,

‘Tesla is "ahead of the curve”… a self-driving car cannot be “programmed” to drive but rather needs to think and act for itself, and cannot rely on the cloud but rather needs to process streams of sensor data and complex neural net pipelines in real-time. Cloud connectivity is used just periodically for data sharing and training using real-world driving data (what Tesla calls “fleet learning”).

So, with all this new technology taking control of local processing and increasingly working at the edge-of -the-network today’s Cloud as it has evolved will either be transformed, diminished or vanish.

On the data center front with new embedded applications are coming into play. For example let’s take a look at Intel’s recent alliance with a small, emerging edge computing player call Qnext – with its FileFlex product. According to Jim Gordon, General Manager of the Platforms Security Division at Intel. “FileFlex, is a ‘hardened’ silicon-to-silicon remote access, sharing and collaboration solution that is enabled by our Intel vPro platform integrating with Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX). It uses secure enclaves to provide added protections within the silicon itself against shared data being snooped or tampered with at any stage of access or transmission.”

This is an early example of how data centers will change, and processing and applications will become more integrated – increasing performance and taking processing back to centralized date centers at the edge of the network.

The Edge Trend

So, stay tuned. The edge computing trend has not really been accurately scaled yet – and it is only going to get bigger. After all, did we all think that Cloud Computing would be an almost $300B market a decade ago!  Join our LinkedIn group and/or register on this site. We are starting small but like the edge computing trend we hope to grow with the community.

Philip Bliss