E-Handbook: What you need to know about edge computing architecture Article 1 of 4

Should you consider an edge architecture for your network?

Work, workers and work sites are more distributed than ever. Remote end users and branch offices routinely ping data back and forth, and that's a lot of activity happening away from the network core. These users expect and even demand fast response times as they access network applications, data and services.

Edge computing architecture helps by moving applications and data closer to the user. As a distributed IT architecture, edge computing aims to meet end-user demands and expectations for quicker response times by processing data closer to them. In addition to more distributed people and places, connected devices are also multiplying and communicating, including appliances, smartphones and transportation systems.

Networking professionals can take advantage of an edge computing architecture by decentralizing data centers and actually locating them closer to end users, putting data and apps closer to the end-user edge. To accommodate distributed offices and users, network professionals could install intermediary micro data centers or servers at remote locations to imitate cloud services locally, which could improve app performance, response times and data processing.

Not only can edge computing improve services to and for end users, but it could also conserve network resources. Edge computing, for example, could reduce network latency and bottlenecks by offloading network traffic.

Despite the benefits of an edge computing architecture, this setup of course has its drawbacks -- namely security, licensing and configuration challenges. In a distributed architecture, as more devices and clients come on board, the attack surface expands and hidden licensing costs may lurk.

In this handbook, networking experts share their thoughts and insights on edge computing and what it means for today's networking professionals. They also address the evolution of multi-access edge computing and how edge computing in IoT can improve network efficiency.