June 18, 2019
What is an edge database, and why use one?
An edge database provides advantages over cloud computing
By: Mike Bowers, chief architect at FairCom Corporation
Note: This piece originally appeared on the LiveWorx blog.
Cloud computing has and continues to make a major impact on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT (IIoT) landscapes. As each day passes, an ever-increasing amount of device data is being sent to public cloud infrastructures, such as AWS, Azure and Google for permanent storage, deep analytics, machine learning and system integration.
While cloud computing is fast and highly available, the network to the cloud is slow and less available. Because device data must be collected and transmitted across the network to the cloud, the network slows the collection of data and increases the risk of losing data.
What is the edge network?
The edge network is the boundary between a device’s local network and the cloud. The composition of an edge network will be different for each industry. Here are a few examples:
- A telco’s proprietary mobile network is the edge network for its mobile phones.
- The network inside an IT data center is the edge network for its servers.
- The network inside a factory is the edge network for manufacturing devices.
- The network in an office is the edge network for its IoT devices and computers.
What is edge computing?
Edge computing occurs on devices and computers inside an edge network. Even though edge computing generally lacks the scale and resources available in the cloud, edge computing beats the cloud when it comes to fast and reliable networking. This is because communications to the cloud are subject to more network outages and slower transmission times.
Why use an edge database?
To speed the collection of data and reduce the risk of losing data, data must be collected, aggregated, synchronized, and processed close to the devices that generate the data. This location is either on the device itself or on computers in the edge network. This is the point in the data management cycle in which a database specifically built for edge computing becomes important.
You may be asking: Why do I need a database for the edge when most databases on the market are built to run on computers inside an edge network? … The answer is a simple, but by no means a trivial reason: An edge database has specific features that make it easy for an application to focus on adding business value rather than implementing mechanical processes for integrating, collecting and aggregating data in the edge, and then delivering resulting data to the cloud. These features include automatic data integration with devices, automatic collection of data, automatic aggregation of data, automatic synchronization of data between databases and systems, and automatic synchronization of data through intermittent and/or slow networks.
The unique requirements for an IoT/IIoT database
An IoT and IIoT edge database has additional requirements. It must run well on the smallest devices and support all major operating systems and programming languages. It must support SQL for easy application development, but it must also simultaneously support a high performance NoSQL API for fast and efficient data processing on slow hardware. Finally, it must run unattended for the life of the hardware as an autonomous database that never needs a database administrator (DBA) or tuning, or maintenance.
One solution, the FairCom EDGE IoT Database, is designed specifically to meet all of these requirements. It allows you to put real-time intelligence in your edge solutions at lower cost with less software development and faster time to market.
Detailed information about FairCom EDGE is available at Faircom.com/products/faircomedge-iot-database.