Moving the Cloud to the Edge

3 min readMichael Carroll on Jun 6, 2017

In recent years, cloud technology has become a buzzword in the tech industry. Today, it is not only understood but also widely utilized across various sectors. As the technology evolves, we are witnessing a shift from cloud to edge computing. This shift is driven by the need for real-time data and communication, an area where PubNub excels.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge computing refers to compute on the edge of the network, closer to or at the data source itself. It's a contrast to cloud computing, which is powered by large, distributed groups of servers. While edge computing exclusively refers to compute at the ingress of the network, fog computing includes computing anywhere along the continuum, from cloud to edge published

Diagram describes the relationship between edge computing and cloud computing

PubNub plays a crucial role in this field, providing real-time data streaming and communication capabilities that are essential for edge computing.

The Era of “Connected” and “Smart” Devices

As of 2021, there are over 10 billion connected IoT devices worldwide, a significant increase from the 6 billion devices in 2017. Predictions now estimate around 20-30 billion connected devices by 2025. Devices that were previously smart and connected are becoming even more powerful. Every year we see laptops, mobile phones, tablets, microcontrollers, and wearables that are faster and more advanced than the previous year’s model. PubNub technology has been instrumental in driving these trends, providing the necessary networking solutions for these "smart / connected" devices.

Give me Real-time!

In today's fast-paced digital world, real-time experiences are the defining trait of modern applications. Whether it's for commercial or industrial use, the lack of real-time functionality could mean the death of an application or pose significant safety risks. Take for instance, self-driving cars and the Internet of Recognition (IoR), now more prevalent and advanced than ever. These technologies rely heavily on real-time communication to function optimally. PubNub, with its real-time messaging capabilities, is at the forefront of this revolution, ensuring seamless communication between various devices and platforms.

How can edge computing be used to improve sustainability?

Edge computing can improve sustainability by enabling local processing and reducing the need for data transfer to centralized cloud servers. By processing data closer to the source, it reduces the energy consumption required for long-distance data transmission. This approach can also minimize reliance on large-scale data centers, leading to lower carbon footprints and decreased energy consumption. Edge computing has facilitated the deployment of sustainable technologies like smart grids and renewable energy systems, optimizing resource usage and enabling more efficient and sustainable operations in various industries.

All Roads Lead to Edge Computing

In recent years, the shift from cloud to edge computing has become more pronounced. Relying solely on the cloud for processing can lead to missed opportunities due to latency. On the other hand, edge computing reduces latency, increases data processing speed, and offers more fault tolerance.

PubNub technology plays a crucial role in edge computing by providing real-time data flow between the cloud and edge devices, making it possible for businesses to act quickly on data insights.

We Still Need the Cloud

Despite the shift to edge, the cloud still plays a crucial role, especially in situations requiring heavy computing and storage resources, such as big data analytics on historical data. PubNub complements this by providing a seamless bridge for real-time data flow between the cloud and edge devices.

Tracing History

Technology trends alternate between periods of centralized and distributed computing. From the centralized mainframe servers of the 1960s and 70s to the distributed client-server web architecture of the 80s, and the return to a more centralized architecture with the advent of the mobile-cloud web architecture in the early 2000s. Now, we're seeing a shift back to a more distributed architecture with edge computing and the streaming web. PubNub technology fits perfectly into this history, assisting with the transition and providing solutions for both centralized and distributed computing.

As edge computing becomes more commonplace, we're seeing its impact across various sectors, from retail to healthcare, and even Hollywood. Real-world applications of edge computing are numerous and continue to grow as technology evolves.

In conclusion, as we embrace this shift from cloud to edge, PubNub continues to drive the evolution, providing robust and scalable solutions for real-time communication and data streaming. Stay tuned for more updates on the latest advancements and future plans of PubNub technology.

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