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Where's the 'edge' in edge computing? Why it matters, and how we use it

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Executive summary

At present, edge computing is more of a prospect than a mature market -- more of a concept than a product. It is an effort to bring quality of service (QoS)[1] back into the data center services discussion, as enterprises decide not just who will provide their services, but also where.

"The edge[2]" is a theoretical space where a data center resource may be accessed in the minimum amount of time. You might think the obvious place for the edge to be located, for any given organization, is within its own data center ("on-premises"). Or, if you've followed the history of personal computing from the beginning, you might think it should be on your desktop[3], or wherever you've parked your PC. Both alternatives have valid arguments in their favor.

Read also: From paper tape to a patched-together Altair 8800, the story of my first computers[4]

But the world's computing services today are networked. ZDNet is one example of a service whose publishers have invested in servers stationed in strategic locations that make the effort to deliver you this document (and the multimedia content within it) in minimum time. From the perspective of the content delivery network (CDN)[5] that accomplishes this, our servers are parked at the edge.

vapor-edge-module-photo-cell-site-1024-px.jpgA Vapor IO Kinetic Edge micro data center operating alongside a cellular tower. (Image: Vapor IO)

The providers of other services that we might otherwise lump together onto the already oversized pile called "the cloud" are each searching for their own edge. Data storage providers, cloud-native applications[6] hosts, Internet of

Read more from our friends at ZDNet

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