21 May, 2020- There’s no doubting it-companies are increasingly shifting their deployments to the cloud, leaving the option of “on premise” behind. And why not? This is, after all, a challenging time for the space, what with the advent (and increase of) over-the-top (OTT) players, quick turnarounds, on the fly scalability, enhanced payment models, etc. all. Surely, there is no cause for debate!
But, let us examine it from a different perspective. Could there be any reason for services to be delivered from as near to the user as possible? Could there be any reason for communication service providers to deploy edge computing nodes closed to the end users? Could there be advantages to be accrued by the end consumers, the service providers and the communication service operators themselves? I allude to benefits such as improved response times, reduced bandwidth consumption, better quality of service, data offload, etc, of course.
If you ask me, the answer to these questions are all affirmative.
Permit me to explain.
The challenges the end users are facing today are multiple-delayed and jittery content delivery, site loading time, video quality, delivery, buffering, etc. All these directly impact the consumers’ service experience. From the communication service providers’ standpoint, it is a no-win, as, despite heavy investments in upgrading the core network; the benefits are too few-for them and the customer. Why?
First, content processing and delivery is taking place from the cloud, which may reside continents away. Even if data capacity is available on the communication service providers’ air-interface, the internet could get so choked that consumers are not able to obtain the required throughput. In fact, this challenge is becoming increasingly compounded, as multiple data intensive applications attain center stage today. These, of course, include, multi-player/AR/VR gaming, OTT streaming services, increased surveillance use cases, penetration of IIOT, expansion of smart cities and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.
Secondly, as a majority of end-users utilize a significant amount of mobile data (which is quite an understatement!), deploying edge cloud delivery networks (CDN) becomes very urgent. Of course, this deployment can take place either at the communication service providers’ outfit itself or at central places, determined through collaboration amongst communication service providers. The reason is simple-ensuring content caching is achieved near users and can be delivered locally, instead of content originating from remote origin servers or CDN servers. It not only reduces latency, but results in saving the bandwidth cost for the communication service providers as users requests are not going to the internet every time. On top of it, intelligent edge CDN can be considered an innovation. Intelligent CDN supports the model, where, depending on the user data network, the location of CDN or edge CDN is determined. If user accesses the data from the operator, the content service provider returns the edge CDN to access the content. In case data is being accessed via Wi-Fi or some other place on the internet, this access takes place on the cloud CDN or a direct to origin server. Thus, one gets the best out of using a distributed cloud and edge computing.
In a nutshell, these innovations are required to optimize cost, enhance user experience or serve content as fast as its consumption. What is crucial to keep in mind here is that as an increasing number of consumers begin consuming data, factors such as reduced data rates, increased service penetrations, increases awareness or whatever the case may be, the bandwidth available in the network is not infinite.
In my opinion, the time has come to take information processing as close to the edge as possible i.e. to the place where most of the data is either getting consumed or generated. The idea is to take only processed information to the cloud, so as to minimize data consumption and enhanced user experience.
Indeed, technology 2.0 comes to the fore!