Edge computing will see new workloads, strong growth, IDC predicts

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Even as old and new IT workloads migrate to the cloud, enterprise IT stores are seeing more and more computing resources move closer to where the data is created.

Under the banner of edge computing, this trend promises greater distribution of computing power, and it has become an area of ​​interest for telecoms, established IT houses and others, including the top cloud providers whose machine learning products are increasingly appearing in “edge AI” versions.

Edge computing shows both familiar and new aspects, analysts told attendees at this week’s IDC Directions 2022 event in Boston. It is similar to client-server computing that predated cloud architecture. But much of the workloads involved come straight from the future playbook of advanced computers.

In precision farming, drone deployments, public safety applications, cargo monitoring and other frontline use cases, data is the driver moving intelligence and storage to the edge, according to Jennifer Cooke, research director for edge strategies at IDC.

“One of the most common driving factors in use cases is that there is massive amounts of data. We need edge to really understand it,” she said in an IDC Directions presentation that described edge computing as “the runway to digital-first operations.”

While there have always been applications beyond the data center, new challenges await as operations are much more digitized today, said Cooke. In addition, edge applications have much more impact than in the past.

“Edge today isn’t like the edge we used to have. It supports workloads that aren’t just meant to make it easier for the bean counters to count the beans,” she said.

Building a new network infrastructure, monitoring edge workloads, and ensuring resilient and low-latency operations are among the challenges ahead for edge, but growth is ahead. In January, IDC said it expects global edge spending to reach nearly $274 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 18.7% over that period.

Meanwhile back in the cloud

Most of the growth IDC foresees for edge will come in the form of services. Such forecasts have clearly attracted the attention of the companies that have long been eager to bring IT payloads to their clouds. For instance:

Amazon offers AWS IoT Greengrass as an IoT edge runtime and AWS Outposts for edge and on-premises infrastructure and services. Microsoft has released an Azure Stack Edge gateway, Azure IoT edge devices and, most recently, an Azure MEC (multiaccess edge compute) platform. Google’s efforts focused on a Distributed Cloud Edge infrastructure and service offering.

Underlying their various products is a common drive to push their own cloud architecture to the edge, according to Charles Fitzgerald, a Seattle angel investor and former platform strategist at Microsoft and VMware, who recently spoke with Venture Beat.

“Microsoft has had an embedded business for a long time and they were the first to go there. Amazon shit – then they got religion like you see at Outposts and Greengrass. Google is further behind, without the full breadth of services that match what Amazon and Microsoft can offer — but to the extent that they want to compete for the same business, they will have to,” he said. “They all want that. their architecture is everywhere.”

Edge computing looms as an important next step for AI and analytics applications that have been targeted for cloud migration but have clogged a number of data pipes to and from the cloud.

“There are a lot of AI use cases where there’s so much data there’s no point getting around it,” Fitzgerald said, noting that people are still figuring out which of those AI use cases holds the promise of the best return. on investments.

It is not yet clear whether the software architectures of the major cloud players can be suitably packaged for edge use cases. Other “non-hyper-scalar cloud players” such as Cloudflare, Fastly and Akamai have software-based content delivery networks that could become competing platforms for building edge applications, Fitzgerald suggested.

Edge computing covers a lot of ground

Today, edge nodes take many forms, Ian Skerrett emphasized in an email conversation with Venture Beat. Skerrett is vice president of marketing at HiveMQ, which provides a messaging platform for connecting edge devices to the Internet.

Skerrett sees edge as intelligent sensors that connect directly to the Internet; edge gateways, which are similar to industrial computers and controllers; edge data centers that collect and process local data from edge gateways; and network edges that telcos are now targeting as part of high-profile 5G rollout.

“The key point is that there is a huge change coming in business data and most of it will come from the edge,” said Skerrett. “This will dramatically change the way we collect and process data.”

He cited V2X, or Vehicle to Everything communication, as a key new edge use case, and said industrial companies, telcos and cloud players will work to define this space, with no clear leader emerging yet.

Many views mark the edge

In a way, edge computing is a bit like other hot-button memes of the day, like the metaverse and Web3. Each offers a greater distribution of computing power and complements the now-established cloud computing architecture. All these technologies are versatile and can have different meanings in different contexts.

In fact, diversity in edge architecture is probably a fact of life, Jennifer Cooke told the audience of IDC Directions.

She said the choices for edge computing can be quite different for different parts of the same organization. In addition, the definition of what is best in edge architecture will change as companies operate in different parts of the world, or because they become dependent on different business partners over time.

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This post Edge computing will see new workloads, strong growth, IDC predicts

was original published at “https://venturebeat.com/2022/03/11/edge-computing-will-see-new-workloads-strong-growth-idc-predicts/”