Gartner has said there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices deployed by 2020. The truth is, no one knows the exact number. It’s possible the total will be even higher.
This proliferation could lead to unprecedented challenges in sending data to devices and back to the cloud for analysis. The sheer volume of data can escalate costs quickly and even create high-latency that prevents devices from working, especially those that require rapid data processing.
Enter edge computing, which brings cloud resources closer to devices. Edge computing provides local data collection and processing, without traversing the internet to reach a distant central cloud or data center.
Organizations that adopt edge computing must consider an optimal mechanism for transferring data in the most resourceful and cost-effective way possible, tailored to their specific requirements.
For IoT deployments to succeed, organizations need an efficient process for delivering new applications, features, updates and security enhancements to potentially huge numbers of geographically dispersed embedded devices.
Many existing in-house updates push a copy of the device’s entire disk image — often referred to as a firmware blob — each time the device needs an update. This practice can result in huge costs, both in terms of time and bandwidth, especially for devices using cellular connectivity.
Thankfully, an alternative exists to reduce the amount of data transferred. Snaps, the universal Linux application packaging format, can use delta updates, an important capability that transmits only the differences between the new snap and the previous one. In many scenarios, such as a minor update to a single software library, the organizations can save much more bandwidth compared to the traditional firmware blob method when deployed at scale.
Two examples of organizations that decrease their bandwidth consumption are Rigardo and Dell Edge Gateways. Rigado, a global provider of commercial IoT edge-as-a-service, offers a containerized application platform and a variety of wireless connectivity options. Dell Edge Gateways analyzes data at the edge of IoT networks.
As the world heads towards the billions of IoT devices predicted by Gartner, the savings will grow to higher rates as more IoT developers embrace continuous delivery best practices already popular in cloud applications.
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