The edge is a dynamic environment consisting of a network of sensors, devices, and legacy enterprise systems integrated to power next-generation business applications. Unsurprisingly, applications that run at the edge can be highly complex as well.
Edge applications are not standalone applications. Instead, they are part of larger, distributed applications that run across various network hosts, from edge devices and local systems to the cloud. To build a successful edge-native application, you need to determine not only where to place mission-critical workloads within this complex environment, but also dynamically transfer these workloads between hosts to ensure optimal performance. However, determining where to run the various parts of the application and what to focus on when optimizing the deployment can be a significant challenge.
To optimize the performance of a distributed application – and unlock the power of the dynamic edge – you need to focus on three critical characteristics:
- Latency Requirements: Software computations that require near real-time response to input from a device – aka within a matter of milliseconds – should be run as close to the device as possible. Functionality that is less latency sensitive can be run farther away on a regional host or in the cloud. This can also help lower total costs by taking advantage of specialized compute capabilities in these environments.
- Bandwidth Utilization: Moving data between computing elements costs time and money, so you always want to move less data whenever possible. The best way to do this is to collect the data as close to the edge as possible and reduce it before transmitting it to more remote computational centers.
- Compute & Storage Costs: As the cost of a compute unit can vary by location, a distributed application can optimize these costs. For example, edge resources may be scarcer than cloud resources. As scarce resources inevitably cost more, you’ll only want to do the computations that need to be done at the edge and move all other activity (e.g., big data analysis) to lower-cost areas.
In his recent Edge Computing World presentation, Vantiq CTO Paul Butterworth explained a unique, “develop once, deploy anywhere” approach to building applications for the edge, using partitions for the various application components. This enables the software components to be allocated to the most appropriate hosts within the distributed computing environment, allowing you to optimize latency, bandwidth, and compute and storage costs of the application more efficiently.
He noted that the critical challenge is optimizing the performance across multiple computing elements, as it’s difficult to accurately predict the behavior of the resulting system until deploying it on a real-life workload. However, working with an application development platform (like Vantiq) that supports dynamic deployment and configuration across the available edge, regional, and global computing resources solves this problem.
The Vantiq platform is built to handle massive scale processing of real-time data from IoT devices, AI systems, cameras, and anything else that connects the physical and digital worlds and deploys anywhere in the environment. Go from ideation to full-scale production in a fraction of the time, cost, and resources. For more information, watch our latest webinar to learn more: How to Be Successful with Edge-Native Applications.