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Solutions | 3 min read

Edge vs. Cloud Computing: The Potential in Managed IT

Alec Brown
Written by Alec Brown

Cloud computing — a group of computing resources that isn’t as susceptible to outages since the data isn’t housed on only a single machine — seemed like the final answer to digital vulnerabilities. But cloud computing isn’t without its limitations. 

That’s where edge computing lends a hand. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between edge computing and cloud computing and where its greatest potential lies within Technology Management. 

How Are Edge Computing and Cloud Computing Different? 

When comparing edge computing to cloud computing, you’ll see that they’re quite closely related; edge computing is, in a sense, a way to assist cloud computing. 


Cloud computing is a general term for a distributed set of processing power that allows you to run applications and services. There are two types of clouds: public and private.  

With a private cloud, you can have your own secure cloud built at your business (typically in the data center or server room). It’s a group of servers that combine to create your own pool of resources. 

The public cloud is the most well known because it’s where you subscribe to access to Microsoft, Amazon, Google or others’ pool of cloud resources for computing. These are especially popular, particularly with more people working remotely. Thanks to the public cloud, employees can access documents and other assets needed from anywhere with an internet connection on almost any device. 


Edge computing performs data processing and analysis near the edge of a network, at the point where the data is collected. That means far less data is sent to the cloud; instead, a local edge device processes the data and only sends summarized data points (rather than all the raw data) to the cloud. 

Data traveling through your network is like a road trip: Any communication with an application or database is a round trip from a device to the data resource and back to the device. Edge computing makes this round trip faster because the data doesn’t have to travel as far. It also reduces latency (sluggishness) and the amount of network bandwidth necessary for sending data. 

Where Edge Computing Originated

Edge computing came about because of the Internet of Things (IoT).  

A quick explanation of IoT: Many devices in our businesses and our daily lives now have sensors that are producing data. This network of sensors is commonly known as IoT. Real-time data and responses are essential in IoT situations. If the data takes a long time to process, it could quickly become too old and, therefore, useless. 

Edge computing was devised to resolve this problem.

Further Reading: 7 Steps to Developing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Edge Computing in Action

Let’s say you’re a manufacturing company. You have intelligent manufacturing equipment, meaning IoT devices have been added to them to start gathering data about your machines. 

If you took all that IoT data and sent it to the cloud, it would dominate the network, since you’re collecting so much data about your machines: current running temperature, current operating time, how many widgets it’s making, the moisture content of the widgets, the job it’s running, etc. Sending all that data to the cloud will use a massive chunk of your Local Area Network and Wide Area Network bandwidth. 

With edge computing, rather than sending such enormous quantities of information back to the onsite data center or to the cloud, edge devices do some of the processing at the point where the data is generated. It’s a much faster solution. 

Edge Computing & Technology Management 

With the rise of IoT and smart devices, edge computing is coming up in tech conversations more often, but it likely won’t replace your data center any time soon. 

It still makes sense for most businesses to have one primary data closet, data center or complete data center facility. Companies still need to send their disaster recovery data backups to a secondary data center or the cloud, and edge computing isn’t going to replace that. You won’t suddenly have all your server data spread across every device.

Edge computing is also likely not a replacement for the public cloud. It’s simply a different way for companies with extreme quantities of data to process that data for efficient network use. 

Edge computing may or may not be necessary for your business. That’s where a Technology Management provider, such as Elevity, can help. If you’re a small business, you’ll likely be served well by cloud computing – even larger companies are served well by the cloud. It depends on the scope of your data sources and processing. 

Whatever the case may be, our experts will discuss your needs and your goals and evaluate the best technology option for your business, with efficiency and security top of mind. 

Related: Virtual Desktop vs. Cloud: What is Best for Your Business?

A More Secure Way to Work 

Cloud solutions have landed a bigger spotlight since more people began working remotely. But a spot with plenty of available space to store mass quantities of data and assets isn’t the only factor you need to consider. 

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has given remote workers the opportunity to access information from almost anywhere. But a lot of the early iterations of VDI technology were hastily put together and didn’t always result in the best security or functionality. 

Enter Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Built with virtual and hybrid workplaces in mind, Azure stands apart from other VDI solutions in areas such as security, storage capacity and more. Click the link below to access a copy of our eBook, Advancements in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Technology, to learn more 

Discover the latest advancements in virtual desktop infrastructure.

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