Cloud is Passé, Fog Computing is the Next Big Thing

Fog computing is a technology that extends the paradigm of Cloud Computing to the edge of the network, thereby facilitating information generation and analytics to occur at the source of the data.

The term “Fog Computing” has been coined by Cisco, metaphorically conveying the idea that the advantages of Cloud computing could be brought closer to data source because in meteorology, as “fog is simply a cloud that is close to the ground”.

Why Fog Computing?

Data is now being delivered in large quantities to many more users. To optimize the potential of the Cloud, organizations need a way to deliver content to end users through a more geographically distributed platform. The purpose of Fog Computing is to distribute data to push it closer to the end-user to eliminate latency and numerous hops, and support mobile computing and data streaming. The user demand for data access on the go from multiple devices, is growing at an increasingly high pace. Considering this phenomenon, the future of the Cloud must support the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT), that’s where Fog Computing comes into play.

Fog Computing is an advanced extension of Cloud Computing. In Cloud Computing, almost all of the data and its processing are handled by a central server(Cloud) with which all the end users have to exchange data. To maintain the flow of this process, requires a very high bandwidth that increases the burden on Cloud server. However, in case of Fog computing, the data processing takes place among a cloud and near user end devices, owing to which it is not required to exchange raw and processed data with the central cloud every time.

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Its Mechanism and Application

Fog Computing supports emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) applications that demand real-time/predictable latency (industrial automation, transportation, networks of sensors and actuators). Given its wide geographical foothold, the Fog paradigm is well positioned for real time big data and real time analytics. Fog supports densely distributed data collection points, thereby adding a fourth axis to the often mentioned Big Data dimensions -volume, variety, and velocity.

As data movement across the networks reduces, the chances of congestion slims, trimming the cost and latency. Further, it eliminates bottlenecks resulting from centralized computing systems, improves security of encrypted data as it stays closer to the end user reducing exposure to hostile elements and better scalability arising from virtualized systems.

The characteristics of Fog make it an appropriate platform for a number of critical Internet of Things services and applications like Connected Vehicle, Smart Grid, Smart Cities, and, in general, Wireless Sensors and Actuators Networks (WSANs).

Following is a video by LocalGrid technologies describing the concept of Fog Computing in a very simplified manner. Check it out-

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  • Franco Cartolano

    Thank you Varnana, I enjoyed reading your well written and interesting article. I share the same vision of IoE and local cloud.