The client-server computing architecture has been a prevalent paradigm in the computing world. And it has been revolutionary in serving powerful applications and supporting critical use cases across business units. However, today, the application requirements have changed considerably – with a spurt in data volumes and velocity. With the growing demand for use cases, such as big data analytics and streaming analytics, the traditional and popular client-server architecture needs to be tweaked and improved in order to become effective in serving these critical use cases.
The popular answer to this conundrum has been edge computing. Unlike the client-server model, edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings storage and computing to the location where it is needed and consumed. Within the edge computing paradigm, computing is done near the data source rather than computing at the on-premise data center or cloud data centers.
So, Why is Edge Computing Needed in The First Place?
The primary importance of edge computing has been in solving the issue of application latency. In the client-server model, as discussed, the servers are located in one of the few data centers, which might be geographically very far away. Due to this, when the user requests for a piece of information (example: clicks on something), then the request and response will need to travel across this geographic chasm.
This will inherently build latency and delay into the web performance. Today, applications have become very complex, with extensive features built to offer engaging and compelling user experiences and support the application’s high-end user requirements. Edge computing emerges as a viable and effective solution to address the challenges that the modern web demands.
For example, applications which power autonomous driving cars and equipment monitoring process massive volume of data, while allowing for a very low latency tolerance. Edge computing is the right solution here to enable computing to occur with minimal latency.
Now, What Are Edge Containers?
Edge containers facilitate edge computing to happen seamlessly. Let us first understand what containers are in the first place!
Containers are standardized packages of software that put the code and all of its dependencies in a single package. This allows the application to run quickly and reliably irrespective of the operating system that it is placed in.
In short, containers are lightweight and can be easily deployed on the edge devices to run advanced computing applications. Therefore, containerization of legacy applications is an essential first step to run large-scale edge computing solutions. Once the legacy applications have been containerized, it can then leverage appropriate technologies to manage the complex cluster within the right set of policies and guidance to ensure data privacy, security, and high application performance.
Edge containers can thus be utilized to place decentralized computing resources as close as possible to the end-user on the edge networks. In this way, the edge containers serve the vital benefit of reducing the latency, saving on bandwidth requirements and improving the complete end-user digital experience.
What Are The Advantages Offered By Edge Containers?
Low latency – Because the edge containers are located close to the users, the latency in information transmission to the end user is minimized.
Scalability – Because the edge PoPs can be set up to cater to instant and unexpected demand, edge containers give the organizations more options to efficiently meet evolving needs.
Security – It is another crucial benefit offered by edge computing. Because the data does not need to be transported from one place to another for storage, and across vast geographical distances – this reduces the risk of data misuse, privacy breaches and ensures greater compliance.
Low bandwidth requirements – Centralized applications, unlike edge computing applications, have high network charges since all traffic is concentrated in the cloud vendor’s data centre.
The edge containers differ from cloud containers in terms of location. The cloud containers run in remote areas while the edge containers are run at the network’s edge. Hence, organizations can use their existing Docker expertise for running edge computing applications.
Today applications have become very time-sensitive. Even a small lag or delay arising will cause a frustrating user experience, leading to user churn. Hence, it becomes essential for companies to utilize these advancements to develop a robust and high-grade application architecture.
The internet of things revolution has resulted in an explosion in devices such as smart TVs and monitors, which utilize large volumes of data using IoT services to deliver powerful and popular services in real-time, and the edge containers become even more important to support these critical workloads that run on IoT.
Edge containers can be easily distributed, and they are easy to deploy software packages
The edge containers can be deployed along with the Points of Presence ( PoPs) to achieve higher levels of availability. Edge containers, therefore, help organizations achieve lower network costs and better application performance levels.
Deploying edge computing and intelligence will place the resources at the edge of the network, which will deliver lower network costs and enhanced response times.
To manage their containers for edge computing, organizations can use a Web UI, terraform or management API.
Additionally, probes can be used to monitor the edge networks and analyze the usage with real-time metrics.
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