Cloud Computing 2.0 is Here: Welcome to Fog Computing

Cloud Computing 2.0 is Here: Welcome to Fog Computing

By Kayla Matthews, Contributing Writer  |  March 27, 2017

Cloud computing has been a buzz worthy phrase lately, but now people are curious about the next generation of cloud computing: fog computing. Keep reading to learn about what this technology is and why it matters for businesses and consumers alike.

A Middle Ground Between the Cloud and the Hardware

Fog computing still relies on the technology common to cloud computing but also requires “edge devices” that serve as middle ground between the cloud and the hardware. This means instead of there being a centralized storage system located in one place, the data gets spread across many servers.

Less Data Being Transferred to the Cloud

Another main difference between cloud computing and fog computing is that some tasks can be handled by the edge devices before data goes to the cloud. For example, edge devices can collect and process data, then send an aggregated version of it to the cloud, so less overall data gets transferred there. That’s good news for people who worry about what’ll happen if the cloud gets too crowded.

Fog computing also potentially reduces the distance data must travel. Currently, if you depend on Siri to ask where to find the nearest Chinese restaurant, the Siri app “talks” to a data hub that may be thousands of miles away.

By using the previously mentioned edge devices and data centers closer to where you are, the data doesn’t have to go across such a distance, which could mean you get a faster response.

Significant Security Advancements

Experts who have been experimenting with fog computing to determine its capabilities say it has some significant security-related advancements for all users. Because data is spread out instead of staying at one location, it’s very difficult for unauthorized parties to find or access. Even if a hacker does find one of the servers, the information on it is garbled and, ultimately, useless.

Possible Changes Ahead

It’s hard to say how fog computing might change the technological landscape. Potentially, the technology could lead to further revisions in ISO certification standards. That’s an international quality-control system that makes sure businesses meet minimum customer requirements and continue to improve their processes. If such certification updates happen, many companies will likely need to re-examine their day-to-day process and the software they use most often.

Fog Computing Might Soon Break Into the Mainstream

A group called the OpenFog Consortium is already working hard to facilitate widespread adoption of fog computing. Some of the founding members of the consortium include big names like Intel, Microsoft, Dell (News - Alert) and even Princeton University. Participants are looking at ways to solve problems related to major concerns such as bandwidth and communications.

Supporters of the technology say fog computing could be especially beneficial for devices or uses that are sensitive to latency and require extremely quick response times. They include self-driving cars and applications in the healthcare industry. 

One of the advantages in healthcare – an industry dealing with increasing amounts of patient data, including some from “smart” devices – is that users or IT administrators can view only certain types of information. This makes it easier to access and manage.

Fog Computing Speed Could Minimize Damage and Downtime

You’ve already learned how the faster functionality associated with fog computing could result in faster performance times for end users. It could also help businesses reduce major damage that occurs due to break-ins, system faults and more. If edge devices analyze time-sensitive data, IT personnel could receive alerts that something is wrong more quickly than with cloud computing.

Analysts have also suggested that the downtime will not only happen less often with fog computing, but the length of the outage will be shorter. That’s because since the data is spread globally, it’s less prone to regional issues that could affect uptime.

This is just an overview of what fog computing is and why it’s important. Now, we can all excitedly wait and see how much of an impact it has on the future. 

Edited by Alicia Young