Businesses and organizations are migrating swiftly towards cloud technology to enhance their operations, security, and communications. Impressive as it may sound that the processing power of the cloud is often just as good as the geographic distance between you and the server location. Well, this is the exact reason why Google Stadia is a colossal flop, till now.
For example: if you want your management to distinguish between sales team and developers; you won’t like to wait for that information to be sent to servers, processed, and then respond too.
Likewise, if you want to automate your warehouse, you’ll need an on-premise solution that can perform the task and deliver the results in milliseconds anywhere on your premises, instead of a terminal whose role is to send and receive data over the Internet, such as Alexa or Google Assistant.
Microsoft Azure Edge Zone is its approach to solve this problem. If you want to automate parts of operations and need on-premise data processing, Azure Edge can extend your (hybrid/multi) cloud functionality with its network’s small-footprint extensions.
What is Edge Computing?
We live in an age of high-speed Internet connectivity where most developed and developing countries provide low-cost, high-performing Internet infrastructure, which is expanding continuously. The problem is with intelligent processing; for instance, you need to coordinate with thousands of load-carrying robots in a warehouse. It requires a near-instant communication, under 30 milliseconds per se.
Moreover, you may want to scale or extend your companies boundaries to geographic areas that are very distant from major data centers. Think of rural communities in general, more specific examples like Africa and its developing economies, most of Russia and China, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and more. Edge computing refers to smart processing that takes place at the source, where the data originates.
With finely tuned processors, edge computing is extending the functionality and reach of the cloud, so that you are always staying close to it, even when you are far-far away from high-speed networks or massive data centers.
For example: if somehow Google manages to figure out how to reduce the network latency caused by communicating over great distances, its Stadia will become a real wonder. They’ll find out one way or another, but they’ll probably use edge computing as part of the solution.
How Do Azure Edge Zones Work?
These technologies help the industry cross the gap between 5G and the cloud to create a seamless, low-cost, high-performing cloud experience at the edge of networks. You’ll be able to connect your remote users/branches to the cloud with Azure Edge Zones, but also one another.
The true innovation lies in Private solutions, which enable the Azure Stack Edge hardware to expand its connectivity via mobile networks to ensure near-instant processing and connections for mobile devices. The more functional the Edge zone, the better the coverage will.
The biggest problem, while including carrier infrastructure in edge computing, has been the trombone effect. The trombone is just a by-product of hosting information in far-away data centers and what it means that, instead of sending a piece of content that you need from your premises, i.e., several miles away. Your carrier sends it first to the main data center that might be tens or hundreds of kilometers away and then it sed it back to you from there, similar to the sound ways travel in the eponymous musical instrument.
Thankfully, Azure has found a way of preventing trombone effect – to the degree that carrier infrastructure allows. For the future, they are planning to enable individual developers to divide workload whenever they need them on edge using more sophisticated code placement. As you are already expecting, Google and Amazon have plans to roll out similar kinds of services; which implies that edge processing and local connectivity will get a lot of attention in the future.
What can we expect in the future?
The best part of uniting the cloud with LTE and 5G is that on-site, independent developers and software vendors do not need to have engineering expertise in carrier infrastructure to embrace it. In the Azure case, the network itself will be set up by Microsoft and its local partners, from the boxes to the firewalls, VLANs, and everything else you may think of. It will encourage businesses to use high-level programming constructs and orchestration layers to automate fabrication and warehouses.
Overall, this means greater savings for businesses and major industries. Azure Edge Zones can be used with AI and machine learning to use real-time analytics; as they allow data from your IoT to be processed on-site before it sent to your corporate data center and/or cloud.