Cisco Technology Radar Trends

Fog Computing

Collective Power Enables a New Breed of Applications and Services

It's hard to believe, but the cloud computing concept dates back to the 1950s, when people used “dumb” terminals to access data housed in ginormous mainframe computers. We've come a long way since then. Connecting through the cloud is now commonplace. So much so that innovators are looking for ways to complement the cloud as everything—people, process, data, and things—comes online in the next few decades.

From the Cloud to the Fog

From the Cloud to the Fog

Fog Computing offers compute, storage, and network abilities between sensors and clouds.

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One way to address this is through Fog Computing. This is a paradigm where cloud computing is extended to the edge of the network. This creates a highly virtualized platform that provides compute, storage, and networking services between end devices and traditional cloud computing data centers.

These services are the building blocks of both the cloud and the fog. They're also critical for supporting the emerging wave of Internet deployments—most notably the Internet of Everything (IoE). Internet deployments require mobility support and geo-distribution, location awareness, real-time interactions, and low latency. Also important is the ability to support a very large number of nodes in highly heterogeneous environments.

Fog Computing

Fog Computing can enable a new breed of aggregated applications and services, such as smart energy distribution. This is where energy load-balancing applications run on network edge devices that automatically switch to alternative energies like solar and wind, based on energy demand, availability, and the lowest price.

Another example are smart traffic lights. A video camera senses an ambulance's flashing lights and then automatically changes streetlights for the vehicle to pass through traffic. Also through Fog Computing, sensors on self-maintaining trains can monitor train components. If they detect trouble, they send an automatic alert to the train operator to stop at the next station for emergency maintenance.

The new Cisco IOx capability takes advantage of Fog Computing. This will allow customers and solution providers across industries to develop, manage, and run software applications directly on Cisco industrial networked-devices. This includes hardened routers, switches, and IP video cameras.

This development puts applications closer to where IoE creates actionable data. As a result, it will be much easier to manage the colossal amount of data projected in a hyper-connected world. Adoption of Fog Computing will also accelerate innovation in ways never seen before. This includes self-learning, self-organizing, and self-healing applications for massively distributed industrial networks.

Cisco believes that with a collaborative effort across institutions and organizations, we can build tomorrow's networks - and harness the collective power of geographically distributed resources.