Analysis IT-Infrastructure

Fog Computing: Data, Information, Application and Services needs to be delivered more efficient to the enduser

You read it correctly, this is not about CLOUD Computing but FOG Computing. After the cloud is on a good way to be adapted in the broad, new concepts follow to enhance the utilization of scalable and flexible infrastructures, platforms, applications and further services to ensure the faster delivery of data and information to the enduser. This is exactly the core function of fog computing. The fog ensures that cloud services, compute, storage, workloads, applications and big data be provided at any edge of a network (Internet) on a trully distributed way.

What is fog computing?

The fog hast he task to deliver data and workloads closer to the user who is located at the edge of a data connection. In this context it is also spoken about „edge computing“. The fog is organizationally located below the cloud and serves as an optimized transfer medium for services and data within the cloud. The term „fog computing“ was characterized by Cisco as a new paradigm , which should support distributed devices during the wireless data transfer within the Internet of Things. Conceptual fog computing builds upon existing and common technologies like Content Delivery Networks (CDN), but based on cloud technologies it should ensure the delivery of more complex services.

As more and more data must be delivered to an ever-growing number of users, concepts are necessary which enhance the idea of the cloud and empower companies and vendors to provide their content over a widely spread platform to the enduser. Fog computing should help to transport the distributed data closer to the enduser and thus decrease latency and the number of required hops and therefore better support mobile computing and streaming services. Besides the Internet of Things, the rising demand of users to access data at any time, from any place and with any device, is another reason why the idea of fog computing will become increasingly important.

What are use cases of fog computing?

One should not be too confused by this new term. Although fog computing is a new terminology. But looking behind the courtain it quickly becomes apparent that this technology is already used in modern data centers and the cloud. A look at a few use cases illustrates this.

Seamless integration with the cloud and other services

The fog should not replace the cloud. Based on fog services the cloud should be enhanced by isolating the user data which are exclusively located at the edge of a network. From there it should allow administrators to connect analytical applications, security functions and more services directly to the cloud. The infrastructure is still based entirely on the cloud concept, but extends to the edge with fog computing.

Services to set vertical on top of the cloud

Many companies and various services already using the ideas of fog computing by delivering extensive content target-oriented to their customer. This includes among others webshops or provider of media content. A good example for this is Netflix, who is able to reach its numerous globally distributed customers. With the data management in one or two central data centers, the delivery of video-on-demand service would otherwise not be efficiently enough. Fog computing thus allows providing very large amounts of streamed data by delivering the data directly performant into the vicinity of the customer.

Enhanced support for mobile devices

With the steadily growth of mobile devices and data administrators gain more control capabilities where the users are located at any time, from where they login and how they access to the information. Besides a faster velocity for the enduser this leads to a higher level of security and data privacy by data can be controlled at various edges. Moreover fog computing allows a better integration with several cloud services and thus ensures an optimized distribution across multiple data centers.

Setup a tight geographical distribution

Fog computing extends existing cloud services by spanning up an edge network which consist of many distributed endpoints. This tight geographical distributed infrastructure offers advantages for variety of use cases. This includes a faster elicitation and analysis of big data, a better support for location-based services by the entire WAN links can be better bridged as well as the capabilities to evaluate data massively scalable in real time.

Data is closer to the user

The amount of data caused by cloud services require a caching of the data or other services which take care of this subject. This services are located close to the enduser to improve latency and optimize the data access. Instead of storing the data and information centralized in a data center far away from the user the fog ensures the direct proximity of the data to the customer.

Fog computing makes sense

You can think about buzzwords whatever you want. Only if you take a look behind the courtain it’s becoming interesting. Because the more services, data and applications are deployed to the end user, the more the vendors have the task of finding ways to optimize the deployment processes. This means that information needs to be delivered closer to the user, while latency must be reduced in order to be prepared for the Internet of Things. There is no doubt that the consumerization of IT and BYOD will increasing the use and therefore the consumption of bandwidth.

More and more users rely on mobile solutions to run their business and to bring it into balance with the personal live. Increasingly rich content and data are delivered over cloud computing platforms to the edges of the Internet where at the same time are the needs of the users getting bigger and bigger. With the increasing use of data and cloud services fog computing will play a central role and help to reduce the latency and improve the quality for the user. In the future, besides ever larger amounts of data we will also see more services that rely on data and that must be provided more efficient to the user. With fog computing administrators and providers get the capabilities to provide their customers rich content faster and more efficient and especially more economical. This leads to faster access to data, better analysis opportunities for companies and equally to a better experience for the end user.

Primarily Cisco will want to characterize the word fog computing to use it for a large-scale marketing campaign. However, at the latest when the fog generates a similar buzz as the cloud, we will find more and more CDN or other vendors who offer something in this direction as fog provider.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.