« Edge computing » is a new paradigm in which the resources of a small data center are placed at the edge of the Internet, in close proximity to mobile devices, sensors, and end users, and the emerging Internet of Things. Terms such as « cloudlets, » « micro data centers, » and « fog » have been used in the literature to refer to these small, edge-located data centers. They all represent counterpoints to the theme of consolidation and massive data centers that has dominated discourse in cloud computing.
The edge of the Internet is a unique place. Located just one wireless hop away from associated mobile devices, it offers ideal placement for low-latency offload infrastructure to support emerging applications such as augmented reality and wearable cognitive assistance. It is an optimal site for aggregating, analyzing and distilling bandwidth-hungry sensor data from devices such as video cameras. In the Internet of Things, it offers a natural vantage point for organizational access control, privacy, administrative autonomy and responsive analytics. In vehicular systems, it marks the junction between the well-connected inner world of a moving vehicle and its tenuous reach into the cloud. New challenges and opportunities arise as the consolidation of cloud computing meets the dispersion of edge computing.