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What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing refers to the storing information on a computer network.
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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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Edge computing is a computer philosophy used primarily with networks to refer to how the network stores its information. With edge computing, all or most of the data on the network are driven away from physical computers. This means the only place left to store memory is on the Internet, usually through a private server that others cannot access. One advantage to using this memory storage method is that it takes less time to move data and there normally are less hardware limitations. The way the data move when they reenter the network also means that security is upgraded.

With most information storage philosophies, it is suggested that the information is stored within the physical network. This means placing the data in computer hard drives or servers, or other physical hardware that is near the centralized network. When the edge computing philosophy is used, physical hardware may be used, but most of the information is kept away from physical networks, which presents several advantages.

Computer memory has to be stored or the network will be unable to access its files and databases; with physical hardware largely eliminated, the only place left to store information is on the Internet. Web servers usually are used with edge computing to ensure the data stay online, but much less hardware is used on average. The servers typically are private, ensuring that unauthorized people have a hard time accessing the information.

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An advantage to using edge computing is that hardware limitations are nearly erased. When data need to be moved or stored, hardware normally is responsible for this. There commonly is a bottleneck that limits how much memory can be moved at once. The hardware also needs power to run, which can get expensive. Edge computing typically has a wider bottleneck, so data can move faster and less power is needed overall.

When data are moved throughout a network, they go through different security layers to ensure hackers cannot get into the system, but edge computing goes beyond this. More security layers are used because, instead of the data moving between the network nodes, the data are moving from the Internet into the servers and onto the nodes. This means there typically are extra firewalls, antivirus checkers and checkpoints that analyze for malicious problems, typically making it harder for anything to sneak into the network.

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