The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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Distributed Cloud Computing

As a promising tech trend for coming years, distributed cloud computing is already carving out its space in the strategies of several leading organizations. Although on one hand, cloud service providers are ready to provide distributed cloud services, it is imperative for customer organizations to understand and appreciate the benefits of distributed cloud computing before readily jumping on the trend. Let us discuss some of such benefits, applications, and even challenges that distributed cloud computing has to offer.

There are few main reasons why an organization might want to have distributed cloud service. Either the applications require edge computing in which case distributed cloud forms a great base or it needs to comply with the regional specific or industry specific data privacy regulations. In both the cases, distributed cloud can be a great fit.

There is a dire need of minimum latency in running applications based on edge computing, internet of things, artificial intelligence and alike. Such applications drive the demand and growth of distributed computing. Some of the major use cases and benefits would be,

·        Cost effective scalability and agility: It is usually very expensive to build out a dedicated data centers in different geographies. Existing infrastructure could be expanded with distributed cloud and applications could be developed and deployed in the environment with same tools without actually investing much in physical infrastructure.

·        Easier regulatory compliance: Several data privacy regulations require personal information of users to stay within the country. Distributed cloud makes it easier to process PII in user's country of residence. It would become easier to comply with privacy norms of various industries if the data is processed at the source itself.

·        IoT, AI applications: There are several applications that rely on real time analysis such as video surveillance, manufacturing automations, self-driven cars, healthcare applications, etc. For such applications, the latency caused by data travel to the central cloud data center and back could cause irreversible damages. The low latency demanded by such applications can be fulfilled by distributed cloud.

Gartner believes that the future of distributed cloud will evolve in two different phases. In the initial phase, enterprise customers will tackle latency issues by mimicking the promise of hybrid cloud by buying cloud substations. Such customers will be reluctant to the idea of opening up their substations to other organizations in the near neighbor.

In the next phase, several organizations, government entities, etc. will eventually buy cloud substations and slowly open them up for use by organizations in the near surroundings thus establishing the idea of distributed cloud computing.

Even though distributed cloud computing has several benefits in terms of processing data locally, there are also certain challenges that comes with it.

For example,

·        Will enough public cloud capabilities be available on distributed cloud substation? Will it be partially distributed or fully distributed?

·        What would be the cost splitting model if such substations are made available to the neighbors in the proximity? How would be the cost split if the bandwidth is increased for effective operations?

·        What will be the nature of revenue models for sharing substations across multiple organizations? For example, who will the user pay? The cloud service provider or the organization who requested the substation there in the first place.

Such and several other issues will emerge while implementing and using distributed cloud computing. But such challenges should not hinder the growth and dwarf the hopes of organizations. They should definitely try and explore new tech trends that will effectively bolster their growth and enable them to realize their full potential through tech like distributed cloud computing.

 

References:

1. https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/distributed-cloud#:~:text=Distributed%20cloud%20is%20a%20public,colocation%20centers%20%2D%20and%20manage%20everything

2. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/the-cios-guide-to-distributed-cloud/

3. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/the-top-10-cloud-myths/

4. https://www.stackpath.com/edge-academy/distributed-cloud-computing/#top

5. https://www.informationweek.com/cloud/why-distributed-cloud-is-in-your-future/a/d-id/1339427?

6. https://www.bmc.com/blogs/distributed-clouds/

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