Load Balancers

The State of Edge Computing

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wrote last year about how the trend towards edge computing was going to be a significant driver for change in the data generation and processing space. And that there was going to be massive investments in edge computing infrastructure over the next few years. As I wrote last year:

Edge computing is going to be a significant driver for network evolution over the next five years. Spending on edge computing is forecast to be $9 billion per year by 2024…The rollout of 5G will drive a lot of this expansion as edge computing technologies are essential in delivering the local high bandwidth, low latency network provision that 5G requires.

The article also outlined how load balancing will be crucial to enabling edge computing and data processing in edge data centers. This post will cover the current state of the edge computing landscape, as reported in the recently published State of the Edge Report 2021.

State of the Edge Report 2021

The State of the Edge organization publishes the State of the Edge report. It is a vendor-neutral platform for open research on edge computing dedicated to establishing a shared vocabulary for the industry. State of the Edge develops free in-depth research with input and content from many leading experts in edge computing. Their report is now in its fourth year. It is a premier source on the state of edge computing, and on how the next-generation Internet will evolve over the next few years.

In the sections below, I highlight some of the key findings in the latest report. I encourage you to download and read the 95-page PDF to get a complete overview of the current state of the edge. But before I get into the headlines from the report, a short aside on how they define the edge.

How does State of the Edge define Edge Computing

One of the stated goals of the State of the Edge project is to create a shared vocabulary that the industry and others can use when discussing edge, IoT, and 5G infrastructure and solutions. They define the edge via these four principles:

Other definitions on what constitutes edge computing exist, but these four principles encapsulate the concepts pretty well for me. Now, on to the key findings from the report.

The Key Findings in the 2021 Report

The report concludes that we are entering the hyper-connected era. As Fay Arjomandi says in the forward:

We are in the midst of a transition from the mobile internet to the hyper-connected era where nearly every object in our physical world can have computing and connectivity built in, whether it’s a simple consumer doorbell or a complicated robotic manufacturing device. As the number of these smart devices grows, they will fuel automation and personalization, thereby transforming many industries.

People have been saying this for a while now, but all the signs point to it occurring. Sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, energy, logistics, connected cities, online & physical retail, and emerging markets are experiencing a shift to last-mile processing and extensive data mining via machine learning and AI. 

The list below summarizes the headline findings presented in the executive forward of the report, but you should consult the full report for the complete picture.

Conclusion

Multi-access edge computing via connected devices at the IoT edge will be a big part of the IT infrastructure landscape over the next decade. Edge devices will find their way into locations and applications we can barely imagine today. We can say for sure that it will be an exciting time, and there will be a wide range of new and novel uses that emerge.

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