Edge computing is an extension of cloud computing where the processing of the data happens closer to the data sources or on the ‘edge’ of the network.
Main use case for edge computing is to process real time stream of data near the point of creation, instead of sending it over to cloud. Companies in manufacturing, healthcare and finance are major consumers of edge computing as they have high compute requirement for real time big data.
Edge computing leverages a mesh of micro data centres which are near the edge of network or at the client location and they store / process the critical data and sending it to cloud as and when required.
IoT is one of the major use cases for edge computing as these devices might be in area of bad connectivity and keeping them connected to the central cloud data centre is not feasible or efficient.
Also in specialised areas where latency has to be brought down significantly can use edge computing instead of cloud computing. Oil rigs, telecom providers building out new networks and telecom towers are seeing major application of edge computing.
Generally speaking, edge computing is relatively safer as compared to cloud computing because the data stays at the point of creation and is not traversing over a network making it less susceptible to attacks or security breaches.
Edge computing is considered to be sub set of broader form called fog computing which also includes the network and the buffer zones between the edge and the cloud. Edge gateway is the link between the processing micro data centre of edge computing to the broader network of fog.
Edge and Fog computing are becoming important complimentary forms of computing in IoT and other use cased where real time processing of data is required.