Cloud vs. Edge

As previously published on IoT Agenda

For many industrial automation professionals, the cloud has come to represent the backbone of the IIoT. But, for enterprises to really make progress with their IIoT visions, they must begin to realize that the cloud is only one part of their IIoT universe.

Operations that need their computing done in real time are discovering that there are certain things that cannot or should not be pushed to the cloud — whether it be for security, latency or cost concerns — and are therefore beginning to push more and more computing to the edge of their networks.

The growth in edge computing has not only created more data, but also a greater need for speed in making that information available for other systems and analytics. Cloud computing is convenient, but its connectivity often just isn’t robust enough for certain industrial situations. Some computing will always need to live at the edge, such as real-time processing, decision support, SCADA functions and more. There’s no sense in limiting these functions when 100% cloud adoption just isn’t necessary and can instead be utilized for non-real-time workloads like post-processing analytics or planning.