Cloud computing and edge computing, which are revolutionizing modern computing, are actually ideas that have been around for decades.

While the concept was initially discussed at the Pentagon’s ARPA division in the 1960s, the term “cloud computing” was coined in 1996 at Compaq as a description for distributed computing. Soon, major players like Google and Microsoft were angling to capture market share of the nascent cloud industry.

Likewise, “edge computing” also originated as a term in the 1990s with Akamai’s content delivery network (CDN) launch. At that time, given the era’s slow upload/download speeds, the idea of edge computing meant delivering cached content such as images and videos at nodes that were geographically closer to the end-user.

Both these terms have evolved substantially in the decades since. So what do cloud computing and edge computing mean today? And how do they impact business and our daily lives?

Cloud computing

Cloud computing means an end to reliance on physical computing resources, such as on-site servers and storage, and a move to virtual resources that are accessible on-demand via the internet.

Instead of the expense and maintenance costs of on-site computing infrastructure and storage, cloud computing turns computing infrastructure into a subscription-based service or a service billed by usage like a utility. Applications, servers, tools, networking capabilities and more are hosted at a remote data center and managed by a cloud services provider, such as Amazon, which runs Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud provider.

A subscription-based model has the benefits of lower IT costs (you offload the costs of having your own on-premises infrastructure), more flexibility (your organization can start using enterprise applications available from your cloud provider in minutes, instead of long delays while IT purchases, installs, and configures software), and greater scalability (you can scale capacity up and down in response to workload, and not be stuck with excess capacity or a lack thereof).

Cloud computing is also far more secure than on-premises computing since cloud companies can keep systems updated and upgraded with more speed and effectiveness than a typical in-house IT department which is overburdened with other responsibilities. In fact, 94% of small and medium-sized businesses report security benefits after making the moving to the cloud.

As it stands, more than 94% of enterprises already use a cloud service, with the average company using almost five cloud platforms. Today, 30% of all IT budgets are spent on cloud computing. It should come as no surprise, then, that public cloud services are expected to be a $623.3 billion industry globally by 2023.

Edge computing 

Edge computing is aptly named as its focus is on decentralized computing done as close to where people need and consume information processing power as possible.

At its core, edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the devices where it’s being gathered, rather than relying on cloud computing and remote servers. The primary benefit to edge computing is that real-time data doesn’t suffer latency issues that can affect performance. This includes both transmission and connection time to and from the cloud and lag caused by bandwidth constrictions as multiple devices try to connect to the cloud from the same location.

The growing importance of edge computing parallels the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices—everything from a home smart fridge to an employee’s laptop computer to monitoring equipment on a factory floor—leverage the power of the internet and the cloud to yield troves of data that enable and enhance advanced functionality.

But the data costs and bandwidth need of these devices quickly add up. Edge computing alleviates these issues by processing data from IoT devices on board the device at its location and then only sending the relevant data to the cloud, reducing bandwidth needs.

The increasing number of real-time applications that need edge processing is driving the advancement of the technology, and nowhere is that truer than in autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles, already being actively tested by several companies, will generate huge amounts of data about their surroundings which must be processed without the slightest delay to ensure the proper operation of the vehicle and the safety of both passengers, pedestrians, and property. While the increased speed of a 5G network will make autonomous vehicles possible, any delay in data processing could be catastrophic. Real-time edge computing of the vehicles’ senor processing and analytics will avoid this problem and make autonomous vehicles safe and feasible for widespread use.

Cloud and edge computing are transformational technologies changing the way we live and work and enabling the next wave of innovative, disruptive technologies that will shape our lives.

Investing in Cloud Computing with Evolve ETFs

Cloud Computing is transforming the global economy. Over the past decade, the Cloud has fundamentally changed the way businesses and individuals access data. From physical servers to portable drives, the Cloud has helped eliminate the need to store information on-premise. For more information visit the fund page here:

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Tags Cloud Computing  data etf  Edge Computing