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Fog Computing – Roads Ahead

Posted by: Shashi Bhushan Rai On June 13, 2014 04:22 PM

As people started realizing the benefits of Cloud Computing coupled with connected Mobile devices, it became clearly evident that the next emerging technology would be Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT). However, it took sometime for all to realize the key characteristics of these technologies. While we try to connect so many kinds of equipment (e.g. phones, meters) to the Cloud, the Device Management model differs significantly depending upon its features and capabilities therefore a need for separate Cloud domain (i.e. Fog Cloud) to handle this scenario. You’re right! Fog Computing is all about Cloud for the Edge, an emerging technology.

A few years back, I was challenged with a similar scenario in the telecom sector, where the rationale was to design and develop a unified software solution that could proactively manage the Customer Experience such that faults or issues get detected and resolved prior to the customer knowing about it. After a couple of meetings with several leading experts in the field, I was pulled into leading this new initiative known as Proactive Service Management (PSM) project. During those days, I realized that the volume of data to be processed is going to be huge since the variety of equipment (e.g. compute servers, network elements, storage hardware) involved and acting as either sensors and/or actuators for the control function are large. Moreover, these devices are owned and managed by different business entities or domains. The data collection, processing, controlling, and reporting would require independent Grid Farms to be responsive enough. Interestingly, we started building the solution based on Grid-of-Grids pattern. Apply the same principle, Fog Computing requires extending the Hybrid Cloud by coupling with Sensor Grid and Actuator Grid. OGC (ref:http://www.opengeospatial.org ) is leading Sensor Web Enablement intiative to develop SensorML specifications.

Fog Computing, the buzz word is about bringing the Cloud closer to Edge (i.e. in the Access Network) such that Cloud itself orchestrates a variety of services applying cloud tiering, hierarchical network model, geographical distribution, and mobility awareness. You may find Fog Cloud components, such as: Sensor Data Collector (SDC) and Actuator Command Controller (ACC) appliances deployed in Communication Service Provider’s Point of Presence (POP) that is based on Cloud technologies to achieve elastic scalability at regional level. The multi-tenant Sensor Data Routers (SDR) and Control Command Routers (CCR) connects POP components to the Enterprise Applications deployed in some Enterprise Cloud to enable processing of data and commands for the subscribers. A variety of mobility-aware applications could be built and availed to consumers based on this data.

Fog Computing is a big opportunity for telecom operators worldwide. It could become a key driver for IoT, M2M, and SDN adoption. Large scale Device Management middleware would be required. Huge data volumes captured through sensors needs to be processed using Big Data technologies. Distributed Controller nodes need to be applied to enable Actuator Grids. In summary, Fog Computing is definitely an emerging opportunity!

Tags: Cloud
 
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