How the shift to edge computing is impacting enterprises

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It comes down to simple physics and cost: in cloud computing, high availability and response times of less than a second are nearly impossible, or at least unfeasibly expensive.

This disadvantage has led to edge computing, where computing resources are moved to the physical location of data creation, or the so-called “edge” of the Internet. The touted results are real-time speeds and dramatically increased data availability, flexibility, resiliency and consistency.

According to Dave McCarthy, research vice president for cloud and edge infrastructure services at IDC, there has been a mindset shift from “…anything and everything should go to the cloud to ‘Let’s use the cloud for what it’s good for’.” , and other things if they make more sense.’”

Edge computing has increasingly become a priority for a growing number of organizations. According to IDC, global enterprise and service provider spending on edge hardware, software and services is expected to reach $176 billion by 2022, up 14.8% from 2021. That spending is expected to reach $274 billion by 2025. billion, the company said. Similarly, the LF Edge branch of the Linux Foundation expects edge spending to reach $800 billion by 2028.

This is equivalent to an exponential growth in the number of providers. Industry giants as well as specialty companies have taken to the space; Established providers of edge computing platforms and services include Cloudflare, Macrometa, Platform9 and Litmus Edge. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers its Lambda@Edge technology, while IBM has Watson Anywhere, and nearly every other IT vendor from Google to Dell and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced plans to implement some sort of multiple edge computing platform.

Couchbase, a distributed NoSQL cloud database, has also expanded support for edge computing with the launch of Couchbase Mobile 3. The new platform enables developers to build fully native applications in the cloud, at the edge, and on mobile and IoT devices. using their chosen languages, frameworks and platforms, according to Wayne Carter, Vice President of Engineering at Couchbase.

Better, faster, stronger — the demand for data and apps

The 11-year-old Santa Clara-based publicly traded company has established itself with its two versions of an open-source, NoSQL, multi-model, document-oriented database software.

As Carter noted, modern apps need to be faster, more resilient, more agile, more accessible and able to run anywhere. Because apps run on multiple different systems, developers need to be able to configure hundreds of locations and devices quickly and easily.

“Customers increasingly need mobile and edge capabilities to meet the demands of modern applications, and data must always be available for apps to perform at unparalleled speed,” said Carter.

The goal of the Couchbase platform, and with edge in general, is to bring data closer to where it’s used, even when it’s in motion, to ensure apps can always access it.

One of the reasons edge computing has become so popular is that it helps address use cases that the cloud can’t, explained IDC’s McCarthy. Using the cloud is cost-effective and fast, but has performance limitations. Apps that rely solely on centralized cloud data centers to process and store data are subject to latency and downtime when the internet connection is slow or frequently interrupted. The time it takes to send a command to the cloud, have the cloud process and send the information can be prohibitive. Additionally, top cloud providers have had significant outages lately.

“How can you keep working if the cloud isn’t available, or the network between you isn’t available?” McCarthy posited.

Couchbase 3 fills this gap by providing response times of less than milliseconds, Carter said. Data integrity is maintained with automatic synchronization between edge and mobile infrastructure, regardless of internet connection.

Developers can use the platform in edge data centers, in the cloud, on 5G networks, on-premises or edge devices. This multi-layered, hierarchical architecture support enables it to meet any speed, availability, technical or security requirements, Carter said. As a result, apps are fast, resilient and not dependent on, or affected by, distant cloud data centers or variability in network speeds. Apps can also be developed and deployed in a way that meets increasingly stringent governance and security requirements.

The ubiquity of the device means that when a device is on, data is available and always synced, Carter said. Given the laws of physics, you can only achieve a certain speed with cloud computing. “You can’t solve this problem any other way,” he said.

For example, the platform has been used by a leading airline to digitize its pre-flight check process. Embedded in inspection recording tables, it synchronizes crew table data in real time, even when those devices are disconnected. This has improved accuracy and safety while ensuring a timely departure, Carter explained. In similar cases, the platform has underlying airline meal ordering systems so that all flight attendants have visibility into inventory (e.g. number of available turkey sandwiches or cans of ginger ale).

Encouraging creativity on the edge

Couchbase 3 is certified on Amazon Web Systems (AWS), Verizon, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Azure. Reference architectures and implementations have been developed for AWS Local Zones, AWS Wavelength, AWS Outposts, and Verizon 5G Edge.

“What Couchbase has done is take their success in cloud databases and extend those feature sets to smaller edge environments,” said IDC’s McCarthy. “It enables this world of apps that can stretch from the cloud to the edge.”

Because of its vastness, McCarty recognized that the edge is a concept that can be difficult to understand. “If it’s so new, how can it be so big?” he said.

He described it as a shift from a centralized computing model to a more distributed computing model and a market driven by the expansion of IoT and AI applications. “It’s a big market, partly because existing things are being modernized,” he said. “The edge consists of many different deployment scenarios.”

Edge computing also promotes creativity, McCarthy said, as it allows developers to create more tools and app features and options. “You can reap all the benefits of the cloud without being limited to just being in the cloud,” he said. “It’s kind of a best of both worlds scenario.”

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