What Is the Edge Cloud?
Cloud computing has brought incredible transformation to businesses of all sizes. Today, enterprises are augmenting cloud computing with edge computing for certain types of workloads, such as latency-sensitive applications.
Edge cloud computing extends the convenience of the cloud to edge networks. Edge clouds are hosted by micro-data centers that store, analyze, and process data faster than is possible using a connection to a data center.
Edge Cloud and Data Centers
Typically, cloud services run on large-scale data centers. These may be private clouds hosted by on-premises infrastructure or public cloud services from providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.
While cloud computing excels in resource-intensive data processing and workloads like AI training, it creates issues with latency for some workloads as data must travel all the way to the data center and back again. In many cases, businesses can achieve real-time intelligence with edge computing.
An edge cloud strategy places intelligent edge nodes closer to local resources, equipment, and devices, with software to deliver services in a way that’s similar to using public cloud services.
Edge technology keeps sensitive or proprietary information closer to the source and enables compliance with data localization laws.
The cost of bandwidth for large-scale data transmission adds up. Placing computing at the edge reduces these costs.
No matter how fast a 5G or network connection may be, large data volumes take time to transfer over long distances. An edge cloud can reduce the latency for edge applications that depend on real-time information.
One example of the edge cloud at work is in the delivery of visual experiences. Streaming services, cloud gaming, and other visual workloads are growing significantly. To accommodate them, cloud and communication service providers are shifting workloads to the network edge. Edge cloud services hosted on micro-data centers help support these visual workloads, achieving the reduced latency needed for great customer experiences.
Edge servers act as micro-data centers, delivering the computing power for an edge cloud.
While they often look like a typical server, many other form factors exist. For example, a ruggedized laptop, a purpose-built appliance, or a robust edge device featuring onboard intelligence can perform as an edge server.
Edge Servers vs. Origin Servers
For business models that involve streamed content, like music, video, or interactive gaming sites, a distributed content delivery network (CDN) combines the benefits of origin servers and edge servers to bring content closer to end users.
Edge Network Architecture
Edge network deployments can involve multiple layers, different server security approaches, and various edge devices optimized for specific needs.
In practice, endpoint devices like smart cameras serve as a “front line” for edge computing, residing as physically close as possible to the users, equipment, or business process they serve. Edge servers and origin servers offer a secondary layer for edge computing. They function as an intermediary between localized systems and centralized business resources. A primary data center operates as another layer, residing furthest away from physical endpoints.
By placing computing at the right layer, companies can make the best use of their resources and design more successful Internet of Things (IoT) strategies. Take, for example, a digital security and surveillance system. Smart cameras at the edge can detect movement in real time and trigger an alert; a nearby edge server can process the data and determine whether the movement poses a threat; and the cloud can collect and analyze data over the long term to help businesses understand environmental patterns.
Edge cloud solutions enable data collection and analytics closer to the source to deliver actionable business intelligence and better customer experiences.
Intel® Technology for the Edge Cloud
Intel® products and technologies enable distributed intelligence from edge to cloud with processing, storage, and connectivity wherever you need it. And with our robust ecosystem of OEMs, ISVs, and systems integrators, we help customers deploy edge computing and edge cloud strategies, starting with our high-performance, server-class processors.
Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors
As the foundation for high-performance edge servers, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors offer the scalability, speed, and reliability to power edge computing environments and a variety of workloads. In addition, 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors feature Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost) to accelerate AI applications and Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory to store and process data fast, to help lower costs and provide high virtual machine density for edge computing.
Storage and Networking
For fast content delivery, edge servers need the ability to store and access “hot” and “warm” data quickly. Intel® Solid State Drives are helping optimize data storage while enhancing cost efficiency. Intel® Optane™ DC SSDs are extremely responsive and highly predictable for fast, reliable data access. Intel® 3D NAND SSDs provide significantly enhanced performance, density, and reliability than hard disk drives, serving as an effective replacement for legacy hard disk drive-based storage solutions.
In addition, Intel® Ethernet Network Adapters, Controllers, and Accessories offer proven capabilities to speed data movement throughout your network.
Intel Partner Solutions
The Intel® Network Builders Edge Ecosystem is part of our broader ecosystem of ISVs, solution providers, and OEMs. These providers accelerate the development and deployment of edge-centric technologies, improving access to tested and optimized solutions for network edge and cloud environments.
In addition, Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions (Intel® IMRS) provide companies end-to-end edge computing solutions with optimizations to help advance your business in any industry segment.
Intel® Data Center Builders unites a global network of providers to optimize data center solutions and technologies for customer needs.
Edge Cloud Security
Edge deployments—and the connected devices associated with them—must protect business and customer data. Security breaches can compromise sensitive data and put trade secrets or other proprietary corporate information at risk. They can interrupt business processes or even halt operations entirely. Data breaches can also result in costly fines and erode a customer’s trust in a business.
Intel’s products offer silicon-enabled security technologies that help protect potential attack surfaces.1 These technologies help create a trusted foundation with product lines that span edge, endpoint, data center, cloud, and network. With a common approach to security, businesses can benefit from simplified deployment and integration.
Along with our partner ecosystem, Intel brings businesses comprehensive technologies for edge computing, IoT, 5G, and AI. As a result, businesses can place intelligence where it can offer the most value—at the edge, in the cloud, or virtually anywhere in between.