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Internet users have lost their patience for slow-loading web pages or applications, and now that so many applications use encryption, a smarter solution is needed for data processing. The longer the distance between user and server, the higher the chance of hitting congestion points or suffering other latency issues. The use of edge virtual machines (VMs) promises to increase efficiency and accelerate processing for users across a variety of applications.

Edge VM implementation is part of a broader movement of computing resources to the very edges of the global networking ecosystem. Milliseconds count in data transmission, and the traditional centralization of servers and data will become less relevant as service providers develop more solutions on the edge. This article discusses three such potential growth areas.

Use Case #1: E-Commerce

Online shopping is a growing trend, with global e-commerce retail sales to hit $4.9 trillion by 2021. As one might expect, demand is especially high during the holidays. Services that support these online sales require a high degree of efficiency, along with sufficient scalability to adjust to fluctuating traffic. Online retailers know what it’s like to be overwhelmed at certain peak periods, and they are convinced that they need to be prepared for anything.

Edge computing can relieve the increased transit time and potential bottlenecks that often result from the traditional network services infrastructure. Requests that go to a single server, or even to multiple mirror servers in other cities, come with the risk of the kind of latency that could cause potential buyers to go elsewhere. Putting more computing resources at the edge only makes sense.

Big retailers can benefit from the implementation of edge virtual machines to process purchases closer to the user. Edge VMs that exist in application containers can handle e-commerce traffic with an online point of sale that is in the user’s geographical vicinity. It is a matter of putting the computing intelligence closer to where it’s needed.

Use Case #2: Internet of Things (IoT)

Processing data with edge VMs is a way of distributing the computation workload outside the traditional data center. And with the exponential growth of IoT devices worldwide, edge computing will have plenty of work to do. The vast Internet community is on pace to include 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by 2025, according to a forecast by International Data Corporation (IDC). And it will take a lot of computing power to reach all these devices.

The fastest growth of IoT devices is taking place in the automotive and industrial categories, but IoT will continue to spread to consumer electronics as well. Extending compute to all these network resources will improve reliability as well as speed. Analytics that occurs in edge VMs can quickly provide critical information to IoT devices so that they can make snap decisions. Waiting for processing and instructions from some distant central server may result in costly—and even dangerous—delays.

Use Case #3: Mobile gaming

It takes a lot to create a good gaming experience. Mobile gaming takes advantage of the latest advancements in IoT, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). If you’re a gamer, or happen to know a gaming addict, you’re aware that it takes a lot of processing power to make these computerized games more realistic. The average computer user might be happy with word processing and web browsing capabilities, but that would never do for a gamer.

Today, gaming involves more than just a PC with a joystick. VR headsets and all kinds of other input and output devices also come into play. And just like industrial IoT devices, gaming depends on split-second computer processing with no noticeable delay. This is particularly important because gamers are typically gaming with opponents or teammates who are not in the same room and possibly half way around the world.

An article from Western Digital explains it this way: “For typical mobile games, a latency of 100 milliseconds or less can create a positive gaming experience, but immersive VR (and AR), experiences require latencies that are much lower—less than 20 milliseconds.”

Edge VMs can reduce latency for gamers and provide the performance that they need for such demanding computing tasks.

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