The processing of data has always been a rapidly developing aspect of computing. Modern organizations – and devices - need faster results and more efficient processing power as they deal with bigger and more complex tasks. However, the progress we make in technology can only be applauded if it’s done sustainably. These devices and innovations are of no use if the planet we ravage to create them is destroyed.

Sustainability is a huge issue in the creation of technology and it’s not difficult to see why. As we improve our digital footprint, we leave behind a much uglier carbon footprint filled with infrastructure costs, energy usage, and e-waste. How can edge computing be used to improve sustainability? Let's explore.

How Can Edge Computing Be Used to Improve Sustainability?

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is essentially what its name suggests – it’s computing that is done at the edge of a network. This means that some of the processing of data is done locally on the device close by to reduce any latency. These edge platforms are physically closer to user devices – or where the data is generated - to make connections faster and take some of the workload off the cloud. This helps to make applications faster, connections more secure, and the latency more reliable.

The age of cloud computing has helped us access processing power from across any geographical distance. This has revolutionized the computing industry and made data accessible in real-time, from anywhere. However, while using the cloud is fast and reliable, for certain applications, that’s simply not fast enough. Consider a nuclear plant with servers in another country. Using data analysis, the machinery will stop operations if it detects something is off track. However, if the machinery relies on data analysis from servers that are not physically close by, there can be latency issues. This can affect the transmission of the relevant data in time to stop the machinery before a disaster.

At places with a slower internet speed, latency issues can also affect the retrieval of basic data on mobile phones or laptops which can impact workloads, online classes, and more. Cloud computing can run into issues with bandwidth usage and security. Relying on faster connections, most companies have shifted to what is known as edge computing to resolve these issues. Now that we know how edge computing improves efficiency in most industries, we can focus on how can edge computing be used to improve sustainability.

The Value of Sustainability

Sustainability in technology is concerned with the evolution of technology in a way that does not impact the environment. As we make these great leaps in the industry, we have to note the value of digital sustainability. Infrastructure, hardware production, and energy costs are all alarmingly high triggers for global warming and pollution. Sustainable computing involves several elements, including:

  • Reducing e-wastage.
  • Using sustainable hardware and designs.
  • Creating technology that helps the environment.
  • Virtualization of resources to reduce infrastructure.
  • Using distributed or remote workforces.

Sustainable Computing Elements

Lowering the e-wastage and reducing our carbon footprint goes a long way to achieving a sustainable future. The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework regulations are also key to maintaining sustainable compliance for organizations. These regulatory frameworks help companies stay within the margins to ensure safe and renewable digital expansion. 

Sangfor HCI Saves Energy for a Green Environment

According to Sangfor’s research, the virtualization done by Sangfor Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) saves space required by the servers and saves up to 70% of the energy consumed by the traditional servers at the data centers.

Technology is now also pivoting towards sustainable practices with virtualized infrastructure. Cloud computing is already a major step toward digital sustainability in that matter. Statista also noted that the global green technology and sustainability market is forecast to peak at almost US$ 62 billion in 2030. In this Green Cloud Computing blog article, we mentioned that the International Energy Agency predicts that data centers currently account for 1% of global electricity usage, and by 2025, they are projected to consume 1/5 of the world’s power supply. The primary energy consumption in data centers is attributed to server operation and cooling requirements. However, adopting cloud computing strategies and incorporating green initiatives can help reduce the carbon footprint caused by data centers.

How Can Edge Computing Be Used to Improve Sustainability?

Edge computing makes real-time analysis and processes data locally for immediate results. By doing this, edge computing also reduces expenses, cuts down on energy consumption, and minimizes waste. An example of this could be within the manufacturing industry where sensors on a machine can locally process data to stop operations if necessary. This immediate reaction time from edge computing reduces operational costs, and energy consumption, and prevents a waste of resources.

Edge computing improves efficiency and agility which reduces overheads and expenditure. This snowballs and reduces the impact that operations have on the environment. By taking workloads off the cloud, edge computing also lowers bandwidth expenses. A few other ways that edge computing can be seen as sustainable include:

  • Effective Data Security – By distributing the storage and processing of data along the network’s edge, the edge computing model also improves data safety. This reduces the operational and environmental consequences of data breaches.
  • Real-Time Monitoring – With real-time analysis and monitoring, the transfer of data across multiple networks becomes unnecessary. Decisions can be made locally and energy consumption can be reduced.
  • Supporting Remote Work – Edge computing also allows critical business operations to take place regardless of internet connectivity or location. This ensures business continuity, reduces operational costs, and enables the use of a sustainable remote working environment.
  • Efficient Resource Usage – Using computers on the edge of the network reduces the operational demand on centralized servers which lowers resource consumption. Additionally, this model also reduces the transfer of unnecessary data.

Edge computing is a wonderful framework that enables the sustainable use of technology while still enhancing user experience and efficiency. Sangfor Technologies offers world-class cloud computing and cybersecurity measures that are sustainable and innovative.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Edge computing is a framework that ensures that some data processing and storage capabilities can be done physically closer to where the data is being generated.

Edge computing improves sustainability by reducing energy consumption, ensuring real-time processing, optimizing resources, and minimizing wastage.

While cloud computing focuses on hosting processing capabilities at a central data center, edge computing tries to bring the processing capabilities closer to the user. Essentially, edge computing is a subsection of cloud computing.

The underlying concept of edge computing is a distributed model of computing power and data processing that is closer to the source of the data instead of only using a centralized cloud computing resource.

High-paced industries that rely on quick results, low latency, and accurate analysis in real-time. This can include offshore oil rigs, manufacturing plants, self-driving vehicles, and more.

Edge computing reduces latency issues by physically bringing the computing power closer to the user. This minimizes data transfer latency and bandwidth consumption.

Edge computing has become a lot cheaper and more accessible due to advanced hardware, open-sourced software and development tools, cloud computing, and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).

While 5G increases the speed of data transfer, edge computing works to reduce the distance and latency of the transfer between the data center and the cloud.

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