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What are the differences between Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing?

Choosing between Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing models depends on your strategy, needs and approach in computing. One must understand the differences between these concepts to determine the proper action plan.

Today, the term Cloud Computing (or Cloud Computing, in English) is already widespread. With the pandemic and growth of the home office, companies were forced to look for this type of solution to remain competitive. But today the idea has expanded. Do you know how to differentiate Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing?

In this post, we will discuss in detail the differences between each of these definitions so that you can determine which is the best option for your business. Follow along!

What is Cloud Computing?

Starting with the simplest concept, Cloud Computing is the provision of data processing and storage services through data centers, accessed over the internet. 

With it, companies can consume a series of computing services, ranging from data storage to the use of servers, in what we call the cloud. Really, the cloud is just an abstract concept for external data storage and resources that eliminate the need for companies to have internal structures, servers, and physical data storage resources within the company.

The benefits of the cloud typically include reduced costs, increased flexibility – so rare in this digital world -, and scalable solutions.

How does it work in practice?

To summarize, Cloud Computing is the substitution of physical structures for virtual ones. This flexibility allows the administrator to establish the application and service delivery for each user, in addition to having public, private or mixed structures.

In practice, Cloud Computing ranges from simple services like Google Drive applications, to the most complex, such as servers in the cloud. The most important thing is to understand your need and find the specific solution to your challenges.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing is a change in perspective in relation to Cloud Computing, since in this type of solution all data processing takes place at the edge, that is, on the devices used by users.

You may already imagine that this has a number of benefits, right? Of course! Thus, we can shorten the distance between the device and the data processing itself, reducing latency, for example.

How does it work in practice?

In practice, some data from Edge can still be sent to the cloud, but only that which depends on further processing – at least for now. 

With Edge Computing, IoT (Internet of Things) ceases to be a beast of seven heads and becomes completely viable. We see these applications becoming more and more popular, with “intelligent” devices like Smartwatches, for example.

With Edge Computing, we can solve a series of challenges, such as latency or bandwidth, for example. Many claim that the future of the cloud is at the edge.

What is Fog Computing?

As we have seen, there are still challenges when it comes to Edge Computing, especially when we consider the processing capacity of these devices at the edge. At the same time, we need to reduce some latency or bandwidth problems that can happen when using only Cloud Computing.

It is from this gray, intermediate point that Fog Computing arises. Basically, the idea is precisely the mix between solutions at the edge and within the cloud.

Fog’s essence is to promote a decentralized architecture. Applications and management are intelligently distributed between the data source and the cloud.

How does it work in practice?

In this case, we have a structure of intermediate devices, called a gateway, that sort out which data will be processed on the edge and which will be taken for processing on the cloud, in an intelligent way.

This allows for the optimization of data traffic, efficiently utilizing as many available resources as possible. In addition, it also proves to be very valuable in terms of IoT, since we reduce latency and allow for more effective communication between machines.

Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing: which technology will succeed?

There is still confusion when we talk about Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing. Many believe that they are distinct and differentiated by technology, when in fact the computational approaches are not necessarily opposed and can be used together. 

This is because the three computing models are complementary and solve different users’ pains. There is, therefore, no choice for Sofia: there are needs that are only addressed by Cloud Computing, while others in Edge Computing, for example.

Assess your needs, intelligently establish the most appropriate approach and, finally, monitor the results to obtain maximum efficiency and work towards continuous improvement.

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