The Future of Cloud Computing

In April 1964, IBM introduced the first Main Frame Computer called System 360. [1] Those computers, even though not to be compared to todays computers in terms of size and performance marked the beginning of the era of computing in which we are today. Another important Date was the 20 December 1990. That day, the first Webpage went online. Tim Berners-Lee, a hypertext expert at nuclear research center CERN in Geneva, Switzerland made the first Web page accessible for anyone connected to internet. That day was the birth of the internet as we know it. [2] The original Web page is still accessible under the following link [3]. Today, the internet has become indispensable. The average monthly broadband usage in 2016 was 190 gigabytes monthly per household. [5]

Todays internet is mostly structured as follows. Our Files, Websites and Web-Applications are hosted on large centralized servers accessible by client devices around the globe. This has many advantages. We can access our Files and Applications anywhere, anytime from any device as long as it is connected to the internet. If we lose our Phone, our Contacts, Photos etc. are safely stored online. But it also comes with some problems and this is where a new trend is emerging. Edge Computing means to go back from centralized servers back to smaller servers at the “edge” of the network. While Forbes calls it “The next big thing” [6], Edge Computing could be the next step of cloud computing tackling the following problems.

  • Real Time

One Problem of the Internet as we know it is latency, or the light speed problem. Since the servers we are accessing are far away from the client devices, even without any computing delay and with the highest band with imaginable it would take some time for the information to go from the client to the server and back. That is why High Frequency Traders try to build their servers as close to the stock exchange servers as possible. [7] Edge Computing solves this problem simply by the fact that the servers are very close to the respective client while possibly still being accessible from other devices in the network.

  • Bandwidth

Even if the Internet already allows large bandwidths today, there are still application areas in which it is uneconomical or even impossible to handle all traffic over the Internet. An example of this is self-driving cars, which can generate up to 4TB of data per day. In such cases, a nearby server is far more efficient. [8]

  • Security

No internet connection provides 100% security. When we think our computers are reasonably safe, Meltdown and Spectre come around the corner. The most effective way to secure data on the Internet is not to send it over the Internet which is another advantage of Edge Computing.

The Central Server has many advantages, and the concept will certainly continue to make up a significant part of the Internet. For certain applications however, the central server is less suitable than small servers located close to the client. The future is likely to be a combination of centralized servers and smaller servers at the edge.












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