Traditionally, content delivery networks (CDNs) were used to cache files close to consumers, enabling media publishers to stream video and gaming software to customers as quickly as possible, and allowing high-stakes web application providers to deliver web pages equally fast.
Eventually, application and content owners found these networks had use beyond caching that enabled digital experiences to be better, safer, and more personalized and profitable. The market responded with edge platforms, an evolution of CDNs that can handle the compute and data workloads that were historically the domain of data centers and clouds. Edge platforms are now a fundamental part of every consumer-facing business’s digital stack.
How does this evolution from a traditional CDN to an Edge platform help businesses and improve consumer experiences?
Benefit One: Holistic Security Protection
With the proliferation of on-premise, cloud, and SaaS systems, technology leaders are struggling to protect an increasingly diverse and expanding attack surface area from bad actors. Further, leaders often tend to overcompensate by implementing chains of security solutions, creating single points of failure, and adding latency and performance bottlenecks between security layers. Given that the average web page generates 65-70 requests on mobile and desktop, and latency accumulates with every page, performance, in turn, is negatively impacted.
The distributed nature of modern applications across multiple clouds, on-prem data centers, and SaaS tools means that the traditional notion of a security perimeter is no longer applicable. To ensure holistic protection, organizations must adopt an edge-enabled solution that can be present across all these environments, otherwise, routing all traffic through a central office using VPNs can cause undesirable latencies and network costs.
By moving security to the edge – in front of cloud providers, application, and storage servers – your infrastructure and data is protected wherever it lives.
Benefit Two: Increased Consumer Experience with Speed and AI-driven Personalization
Generally, the closer you can move compute to the user, the faster your application will be. Edge computing enables companies to push components of web applications down to the edge of the network and even into the consumer’s device, speeding up page loads on web and mobile devices.
To do so requires intelligent predictive prefetching, which anticipates what actions, data, or content the consumer will need next, and pushes the info to their browser or mobile device in anticipation of the request. This effectively makes web pages and mobile screens load instantly.
In addition to speed, the edge can be the ideal layer to implement personalization informed by first-party data or AI algorithms. Organizations can use the knowledge of their end users’ preferences, keyword searches, and geolocation to display products that are relevant to the user in real-time.
Benefit Three: Reduced Costs
Nearly 75% of executives consider edge computing a strategic investment, in part due to the lower cost of bandwidth. Edge computing allows local data centers to crunch their own data instead of sending it to a central data center or the cloud. By processing locally, the amount of transmitted data across the network is greatly reduced, resulting in less bandwidth and connectivity.
Remote servers or data centers act independently, regardless of outages or connectivity to the central data center. Removing dependency on a central network allows digital businesses to be more available and agile in constantly changing markets.
To realize true cost savings from the edge requires a balanced approach. Sometimes, it’s more efficient to compute a workload in the cloud and cache it to multiple edge nodes, instead of having all nodes execute redundant work. That’s why it’s important to use a holistic application platform, such as Edgio’s, that allows you to intelligently leverage the capabilities of both the cloud and edge for peak performance and cost optimization.
Edge platforms are taking the market share of traditional CDNs and cloud providers for their wider range of use cases and advanced capabilities. Businesses are improving their security posture, performance, and consumer experiences while reducing overall costs from edge compute and AI capabilities, real-time responses, and intelligent migration of workloads.
Edgio is a global edge network with an integrated developer-friendly platform designed to offer the highest levels of performance and protection for digital content, boosting overall revenue and business value.