Edge Computing has become more prevalent in recent years, successfully making the transition from "buzzword" to highly beneficial. This dispersed computing model and its ability to bring storage and computation closer to machines and locations that need it has been proving its worth. Even C-level executives are recognizing the clear benefits that it provides in improving response time, saving bandwidth, and decreasing security concerns, among many others.
Edge computing enables the pre-processing of the data for tactical decision making, bringing data to the machine, reducing the raw amount of data sent to cloud hosted data lakes for analysis, saving space, and establishing opportunities for fresh production solutions. It necessitates the allocation of resources, like storage, applications, and computers at the edge of the network, as close as possible to the users and devices that need them. This reduces latency and improves performance, as data does not have to travel as far. Being able to access data at its source also allows operators access to real-time information and the power to make more informed decisions.
Benefits of edge computing:
- Increased Data Processing and Speed: Edge computing reduces bandwidth utilization and brings data storage and processing closer to the user, delivering quicker response times than cloud computing.
- Improved Security: With data no longer being sent long distances, edge computing aids in security enhancements. Shields sensitive data from potential cyber threats and reduces the risk of data breaches.
- Increase Reliability: Edge computing buffers data locally, utilizes local HMIs, providing a more reliable connection.
Realizing these benefits requires finding the right hardware to meet your organizational needs. Edge computing hardware should be compact, rugged, allow for adequate storage, have an array of connectivity options, and be able to accommodate the desired capacities. Each of these requirements is essential to factor in before selecting a computing device, as these devices are often deployed in harsh environments where they must operate optimally and reliably, with a minimal failure rate.
Edge computing, if selected and applied appropriately, enables data processing and storage to occur at the edge of a network, close to the source of the data. This architecture is intended to reduce latency, enhance scalability, and provide a more flexible computing environment. This reduces the volume of data being sent to the cloud, enhances performance, and minimizes latency. Moreover, edge computing allows for storage and data processing in a secure environment, decreasing the threat of data breaches. Edge computing and OT (Operational Technology) work in tandem, with edge computing enabling OT systems to process data closer to the source, enhancing response times and reducing latency. Combining control and computing into one platform offers natural benefits, the most obvious being space savings. Edge computing enables distributed computing, allowing for more efficient use of resources and better scalability.
Drawbacks of edge computing:
- Security Risks: Edge computing can increase the chance of security breaches due to the increased number of secured devices and data points.
- Cost: Edge computing can include a higher up-front cost for the initial acquisition of additional hardware and software, in addition to potential training required to manage and maintain a new solution, despite the longer-term savings.
Edge computing is a distributed computing architecture that allows data processing to occur at the edge of the network, closer to the source of the data. Allowing for data processing and decreased latency, as well as improved privacy and security. Some applications, such as SCADA, benefit from being closer to the machine or event built into the machine. Edge computing is utilized across various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation, and will allow you to focus on what is possible in a smart machine instead of worrying about cumbersome IT logistics. True industrial edge compute enables the combination of cloud integrated applications with local-first or local-only applications in new and novel ways.
Edge computing helps you explore new possibilities and rethink what is possible.
Reach out to a Rockwell Automation Cybersecurity Specialist to further explore what new problems edge computing can solve and how it can better protect your operations.