Introduction to edge computing

Although a classic cloud approach allows resources to be distributed across multiple regions, it still needs powerful data centers to host control planes and compute clusters. Such regional centralization poses challenges when the number of data consumers grows. It becomes hard to access the resources hosted in the cloud even though the resources are located in the same geographic region. The solution would be to bring the data closer to the consumer. And this is exactly what edge computing provides.

Edge computing is a paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data or the consumer. It is designed to improve response time and save bandwidth.

A few examples of use cases for edge computing include:

  • Hosting a video stream processing application on premises of a large stadium during the Super Bowl match

  • Placing the inventory or augmented reality services directly in the industrial facilities, such as storage, powerplant, shipyard, and so on

  • A small computation node deployed in a far-distanced village supermarket to host an application for store automatization and accounting

These and many other use cases could be solved by deploying multiple edge clusters managed from a single central place. The idea of centralized management plays a significant role for the business efficiency of the edge cloud environment:

  • Cloud operators obtain a single management console for the cloud that simplifies the Day-1 provisioning of new edge sites and Day-2 operations across multiple geographically distributed points of presence

  • Cloud users get ability to transparently connect their edge applications with central databases or business logic components hosted in data centers or public clouds

Depending on the size, location, and target use case, the points of presence comprising an edge cloud environment can be divided into five major categories. Mirantis OpenStack powered by Mirantis Container Cloud offers reference architectures to address the centralized management in core and regional data centers as well as edge sites.

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