By Folke Polzer, Johannes Brunner & Nando Kawka
The range of enterprise technology has taken a significant leap. In recent years, companies have increasingly geared their efforts towards employing computing practices that place compute resources where their efficiency is maximized, be it in the cloud or at the edge.
In our two-part blog series, we highlight how the Cloud Continuum is growing into the edge and introduce you to Accenture’s approach to build central platforms — which enables companies to develop, distribute, and manage their Cloud Continuum solutions centrally.
By now, computer technology has come a long way. What started with large and very expensive on-premises compute systems requiring expert knowledge to build and operate is now ubiquitous and generally available via cloud services. Resources are flexibly consumed, and rich cloud service offerings enable the transformation of entire industries. Meanwhile, maturing edge technologies like 5G and cloud-native IoT services are allowing new use cases and making increased edge computing in the Cloud Continuum possible.
Today’s challenges require a new computing paradigm. The Cloud Continuum combines central environments with local edge components. Its components are strongly interconnected and managed centrally. Central environments are used to develop functionality, maintain applications, and collect long-term data. Local systems collect, compile, and evaluate the data and can react instantly to local events as defined on the central layer. Afterward, the data collected at the edge gets sent to central systems without impacting the service.
Emerging technologies, like image recognition or real-time data processing, require extremely fast response times. Unfortunately, central systems are not able to comply with these requirements. Possible limiting factors include the physical boundaries of the network latency and bandwidth, as well as cost. Furthermore, data privacy and compliance have become progressively more critical as ever — increasing data is generated and processed. Digital services are the backbone of industries, the economy, and our society, so availability is essential.
To help differentiate and understand where edge computing is required or needs to be considered, we at Accenture have consolidated the main drivers to extend the public cloud to the edge into “four laws”.
Understanding these laws is one thing. The actual task of implementing them is an entirely different ballgame. And since there is a multitude of regulations and complexities to consider, it is crucial to have an expert at your side.
The Cloud Continuum consists of various technical components such as a cloud server, local compute systems, and edge devices (IoT sensors) communicating based on various technologies like WAN on long distance and Wi-Fi or 5G on the edge. The entire Cloud Continuum must be integrated into a security framework.
Although businesses are already using edge computing, the expansion of the Cloud Continuum simplifies the operation and can unlock the realization of use cases that were not possible before.
In the second part of our blog article we explore the use cases driving the requirements of edge computing and our approach to build central environments to manage the edge computing.
To find out more about the Cloud Continuum you can contact our experts: Folke Polzer, Richard Stevens, Nando Kawka & Johannes Brunner
Thank you to all contributors: Thilo Trautvetter, Sven Heursch, Silvestre Milia, Stanislav Novoselow, Artem Chizhov, Inke Zellmer, Ivan Grebenshchikov, Christina Klaus, Meike Benker & Chiara Minnerop
Find out more about the Cloud Continuum and Edge Services at Accenture.