Edge servers are similar to traditional servers when it comes to functionality. However, these devices operate from different locations. These servers are located near the end-users. It can be a smart home, IoT devices, self-driving cars, or even hospitals. If you are running your operations at your network edge, then it will help you in eliminating backlogs and reducing lag. These two issues are still difficult to tackle in traditional servers. In this article, we are going to talk about Edge servers.
What is an Edge Server?
Edge servers will help you in performing data computation at the edge of your network. These are like regular servers. You can do computing, storage, and networking functions on these servers.
Edge servers will help you in processing data close to your end-users. Thus, you can quickly fulfil your end-user request. You don’t need to worry about sending a request to a centralized server. These devices will help you in processing raw data and returning content to your machines. Edge servers are faster when compared to normal servers. Two famous types of edge servers are:
- CDN Edge Servers: These servers will have a cached version of all your static content. This will help you in reducing the response time of your server.
- Compute edge servers: You can use these servers for providing computing resources to your edge devices. An edge compute server will provide you with all the functions that you need for your IoT apps.
Cloud Servers vs Edge Servers
Cloud computing will help you in running your applications and workload on a cloud platform. Your server farm or data server will create a software-defined environment.
Origin Server vs Edge Server
Both the edge and origin servers will help you in delivering content to your end-users. Origin and edge servers have similar functionalities. However, they have different roles when it comes to the CDN process. Your origin server will be running the server that will be listening and responding to the requests. There might be a delay in the response due to the distance between the user and the server.
CDN edge servers will help you in reducing this latency. It will sit between your client and the origin server. You can host static assets in a location that is close to your client’s machine. It will speed up the time required to load web resources.
The users will send a request to your website. CDN will use Anycast DNS for finding the closest edge server. It will redirect the request to the edge server. Your edge server will load the static content. This static content will be sent to your user. If you need some dynamic content, then the edge server will make a request to the origin server. Thus, your edge server will act as a proxy.
You can’t replace your origin server by using edge servers. Edge servers will help you in providing better services to your customers only.
Working model of Edge Servers
An edge server will act as an interface between different network points. It will be operating between consumer and producer of data. There is no distance definition of edge servers. There are generally 4 types of edge servers:
- Device edge servers: These edge servers will be located directly in your end-user device.
- Network edge servers: These edge servers are located in network-specific nodes like telco data centers and base stations.
- On-premise edge servers: These edge servers are located in your local facility or network.
- Regional edge: These edge servers will be working in your traditional data center.
You can easily understand the working model of edge by understanding one example on it. Various IoT devices are working on any factory floor. These IoT devices will include devices like sensors, cameras, and thermometers. Servers will help you in doing local storage, processing, and analysis. This will give you visibility to your production. If your IoT sensor registers some issue in your machine, then the edge server will detect it automatically. It will stop the production before something happens to your edge servers. The edge server will send relevant data to your main data center. This will ensure that your data center will store important data only.
Edge server will help you in reducing your bandwidth. You don’t need to send data to your data center. If you are not using an edge server, then unprocessed data will be sent to your data center. This will help you in reducing latency issues.
Use Cases of Edge Server
If you need fast real-time data processing, then an edge server is perfect for you. These devices are the perfect solution for you if you can’t deploy bulky standard servers. Some of the main use cases of edge servers are:
- IoT sensors can be used with edge servers.
- Surveillance sensors can be used for real-time data analysis.
- Self-driving cars have to collect a lot of data and make decisions quickly. Edge servers will help in achieving this.
- IoT devices will help healthcare in monitoring patient health.
- Banking apps can use edge servers for isolating their sensitive data. It will also help them in providing quick service to their customers.
- Apps like Netflix can use edge servers for showing cached videos to users.
- Edge servers will help you in monitoring your gas and oil assets.
- Hybrid cloud architecture can use edge servers. The central server will be responsible for handling compute-intensive workloads. Edge servers will provide you with real-time processing power.
Advantages of Edge Servers
- Reduced Latency: Edge servers will help you in reducing network latency. You can provide faster loading time and better performance to your end-users. This will help you in powering your AI and IoT devices. These devices can make decisions in seconds and deal with risky things.
- Data security: Edge servers will ensure that you will make fewer data transmissions to your central server. This will also ensure that your data will be in transit for less time. You are also not going to store data in a centralized server. This will help you in reducing the chance of a data breach.
- Better availability: Edge servers will help you in offering better availability to your users. If your origin server is down, then you can use edge servers to provide your services. This will help you in improving the customer experience. However, it is very important for critical control systems and healthcare apps.
- Reduced cost: An edge server will help you in reducing the need to send data. This will help you in reducing your bandwidth requirements. Thus, you can save a lot of money by using edge servers.
- More computing power: Edge servers will help you in increasing your computing capabilities. These devices are generally cheap and can help you in doing a lot of computing power.
- Origin server security: You can use CDN edge servers for hiding the IP address of your origin server. It will act as a proxy server between your server and client. This model will help you in improving data privacy and integrity. It will also reduce your origin server exposure to attacks like DDoS attacks.
- Less origin server workload: Your origin server performance can degrade due to sudden traffic spikes. The best way to avoid this problem is by using a CDN server. Your CDN server will be taking your client request in a region. This will ensure that your origin server will experience fewer issues.
Disadvantages of Edge Server
- Challenging maintenance: Your edge servers will be operating in multiple locations. You need to define processes for maintaining, monitoring, and updating your equipment. It is difficult to handle this task if you have an in-house team only. You can outsource your server management to good MSPs like Bleuwire. This might add some additional costs.
- More attack surface: Edge servers will offer you better security in some cases. However, if you have multiple edge servers, then you will have multiple entry points in your network. Even one bad server is enough to expose your data to a security breach. You also need to deal with local security issues like weak passwords and inexperienced teams. This will complicate the security part.
- Not good for risky workloads: It is difficult to secure your data when you are processing it. Edge servers are not good for sensitive data and high-risk workloads. If you have processes that have complicated or unique compliance requirements, then you should stick with traditional technologies for now.
- High cost: You need to buy multiple edge devices for making your edge server effective. Deploying and maintaining these edge servers is a costly process. You need to first purchase the hardware. Also, you need to set up advanced IT infrastructure for your new edge server. You also need to hire a skilled IT team that can help you in improving your networking capabilities.
- Data loss risks: Edge servers will generally discard data that they think is irrelevant. This will help edge servers in maintaining a high volume of data. If your edge server discards some important data by mistake, then you can’t recover this data.
- Difficult to deal with high data volume: If you have workloads with extreme data volumes, then they will have a huge impact on your edge server performance. It is always better to move your data and applications to a public cloud or data center.
Future of Edge Servers
Here are a few things that you can expect in 2022:
- HaaS or Hardware-as-a-service: Hardware-as-a-service will rise in 2022. Companies are always looking for ways to remove their upfront investments. They don’t want to invest in buying new hardware as they are generally very expensive. Managed services will also become big in the upcoming future.
- 5G: Edge servers will help telecom providers in dealing with 5G traffic. Telecom companies are installing an edge server near their cell tower. This is helping them in developing low-latency use cases. It will include things like cameras and smart cars.
- Hybrid cloud: Edge hardware is pushing companies towards advanced hybrid cloud solutions. This hardware is perfect for a hybrid cloud. It will help you in improving the reliability and speed of your hybrid systems.
- Confidential computing: Companies are already using at-rest encryption for protecting their local data. However, they also need to provide in-transit protection to their users. Confidential computing is becoming a priority with time. Companies are looking for different methods they can use for protecting data during the processing stage.
- Convergence of computing and storage resources: Converged infrastructure will help your hardware to have both computing and storage resources. If you want to have ultra-low latency, then you can go for this solution. This will help you in achieving computational storage. You don’t need to move your data between multiple libraries.
Edge servers are facing some challenges. Every new technology goes through this phase. Even cloud computing was facing security issues in the starting. However, now it is the most important technology. The benefits of edge computing can help companies in providing better services to their customers. Thus, companies are not going to ignore this opportunity. Edge computing will help you in finding new business opportunities. It will help you in improving your operational efficiency. You can provide a better customer experience to your users. These benefits can easily outweigh the drawback we have mentioned in this article. Thus, you should consider using edge servers for your business.
It is difficult for SMBs to use the latest technologies like edge servers and the cloud. Thus, they should consider working with a good MSP like Bleuwire. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in implementing the latest technologies. You don’t need to worry about hiring an IT team for accessing these latest technologies. Bleuwire will give you access to the best technologies and IT talent. They will help you in creating a perfect IT strategy for your business. Thus, a good MSP like Bleuwire will help you in achieving your IT and business goals. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.