Fog Computing Node – New Kid on the Block


Defogging the term – Fog Computing Node

In this technologically enhanced world, data is the key product. Possessing more information usually produces more value in data-driven businesses.

“Fog computing node is a new promising new edge computing.”

What do you think about how much data we might be producing every day? As per the data published by the World Economic Forum, the whole digital world might be using 44 zettabytes over 2020. With the growth of IoT, there is a rise in the usage of data too. Thus, IoT is responsible for generating a high volume of data, which further acts as a major restraint. To answer the new challenges of computing technologies, “fog computing” emerged.

Ginny Nichols, Cisco’s Product Line Manager, was the one to introduce “Fog Computing” to the world.  It is a novel enhanced technology that offers various benefits to different sectors, majorly internet-of-things (IoT) that are latency-sensitive. Like cloud, fog computing offers services to IoT users such as data analysis, storage, and processing. It is also used for logical business reasons, security, and performance.

If you are googling “fog computing,” and trying to understand it, but confused, the following information will help you to understand fog computing and its importance.

Fog computing has risen as a promising technology, so let’s take a look at what exactly it is.

What is fog computing?

Fog computing is also termed as “fogging” or fog networking. The key aim of Cisco behind the formation of the term was to show reorganized computing architecture that acts as an extension of cloud computing. Fog networking is a complementary approach for how edge computing can be efficiently applied while delivering the storage capabilities and network of the cloud. The fog computing market is expected to make about 55% of revenue by 2026.  In short, we can say, “fog computing does not swap the cloud, instead complements it.”

To standardize fog computing, the OpenFog Consortium was formed by a group of high-tech academic institutions and companies, including Princeton University, Cisco, ARM, Intel, Dell, and Microsoft in 2015. This is because it helps to gain the maximum benefits from the IoT. Further, in 2018, the consortium was merged with Industrial Internet Consortium as there was a significant overlap between the two groups. At present, the Industrial Internet Consortium is known as the largest community that provides information regarding the benefits of edge computing, fog computing, and other industrial internet technologies.

OpenFog consortium has discovered five scientific justifications why IoT is necessary for computing:

  1. Function allocation
  2. Immersive distribution
  3. Latency
  4. Distributed architecture
  5. SCALE capabilities (Security, Cognition, Agility, Latency, and Efficiency)

Fogging benefits over cloud computing:

  • Immediate processing of data
  • It sends a minimum amount of data to the cloud
  • Enhance data security
  • Saves bandwidth
  • Slashes data latency

There arises a question, why is it termed fogging or fog network?

The answer is simple. In terms of weather, fog is a cloud that is close to the earth’s surface. Fogging or fog network sounds similar as it is close to the edge of the endpoints and network, thus offers cloud-like capabilities without being the cloud.

Consider the example of a machine that is overheating. The engine has a temperature gauge and some type of a computing card such as Intel Edison, plus a transmitter or a network card. When a machine overheats, it calls web services API over the network to ask the ERP system what to do or uses fog computing and make its own decision and shuts the machine off without any instructions from the cloud.

Fog computing node – the power to get cloud closer to the network edge

Fog computing nodes are either virtual or physical elements that are firmly linked with smart access networks or end-devices. Virtual fog nodes are also termed as cloudlets, which offer a horizontal expansion of the functionality over disperse geolocations.

These fog nodes reside between edge devices such as in-vehicle computers, thermostats, and robots and the backend systems typically hosted on public clouds. Although fog computing nodes are a simple solution to a simple issue, the only thing is, you should understand when to use and when not to use them. For instance, fog nodes are usually used when data is complex, or there is the availability of data in large amounts that need to be processed locally.

Following example will help you to understand the fog computing node better:

What Hadoop did for big data, fog computing does similar for the IoT, that is, to bring computing power to the data instead of shipping the data to the central computer. Hadoop is what Yahoo and Google use to run their search engines. With Hadoop, each data node is both a storage device and a computer. Thus, this fog computing idea works well with IoT systems.

How does fog computing work?

Fog computing applies the idea of fog nodes. These fog nodes are present near the data source and have elevated storing and processing abilities. Fog nodes directly process data instead of sending requests to the cloud for integrated administering.

As the cloud gets tangled due to the connection of several devices to the cyberspace, cloud computing does not work in certain cases. For this reason, it is essential to make use of fog networking for IoT tools. This is because fog computing nodes can handle enormous data produced by these tools.

For instance, if a person wants to reassess the most recent CCTV video recording from a locally set IoT safety camera, he will need permission from the cloud as it doesn’t have storage space. However, this step can be removed with fogging, where provincial fog node can be accessed for video streaming, which is much smarter.

Fog computing procedure:

  • Signals are reinforced from IoT devices that further execute a control system program.
  • A control system connects information via standard OPC Foundation server or other gateway protocols (OPC plays an important role during data exchange in the internet of things).
  • Information is transformed into HTTP format, so it gets easy for cyberspace-based services to understand the procedure.
  • A fog node gathers data and protects it for further analysis.

Architecture of fog computing:

The fog offers partial networking, computing, and storing services in a dispersed manner between end devices and the traditional cloud computing data centers. The key purpose of fog computing is to offer conventional and low latency for time-sensitive IoT applications.

Following is the layered architecture will help one to better understand all about fog computing:

  • Transport layer – uploads secured and pre-processed data to the cloud.
  • Security layer – it takes care of integrity, decryption/encryption, and privacy measures.
  • Temporary storage layer – is important during de-duplication, data distribution, and replication.
  • Pre-processing layer – performs well during data analysis, reconstruction, trimming, and data filtering.
  • Monitoring layer – is important for service, activities, response, power, and resource monitoring.
  • Physical and virtualization layer – comprises several types of nodes, such as virtual sensor networks, physical, and virtual nodes. Thus, these nodes are maintained and controlled as per their types and service demands.

Are edge computing and fog computing the same?

Edge computing is an element or a subgroup of fog computing. For instance, if fog computing is compared with a basket full of varieties of fruits, edge computing would be one fruit from that single variety.

In edge computing, information is examined at the point of creation. Thus, fog networking plays an important role in encapsulating edge processing by getting data from the point of formation (edge) to its endpoint.

Most well-created edge computing architecture makes use of fog nodes to manage data in the most efficient way possible. Evidently, edge and fog computing are complementary.

In short, we can say that these two are the drivers of the same car!

Let’s wrap up

Fog computing node promotes business by reducing their dependency on any central point such as cloud. Thus, it is the best way to benefit from the IoT. It has been analyzed that it increases business agility by increasing revenue. It also accelerates rollout cycles and reduces cost.

The future is fog computing

In comparison to cloud computing, fog computing boosts accessibility and usability in several processing environments. Soon fog computing will take over, as IoT is growing at a rapid pace, and it needs an enhanced infrastructure base that can manage all its needs.

According to research, the fog computing industry is expected to account for approximately USD 18 billion by 2022. According to the OpenFog Consortium, “Fog computing is the system-level architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum.”

Thus, fog computing node, a new kid on the block, is driving the overall industry growth.

Hopefully, we have helped clear the fog for you!


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