Network configurations are constantly changing, and it can be hard to understand how innovations will impact your business. For example, we often hear the terms edge computing and content delivery network (CDN), but how are they different? And, is it really a case of either-or?

Before jumping into the differences between these two computing terms, it’s best to understand what they are. Edge computing helps organizations distribute their computing resources closer to the network edge in order to provide users with better performance and more reliable access to data and applications. A CDN strategically places servers that provide cached data to users, which results in faster experiences and more reliable access to data.

Both edge computing and content delivery networks have similar goals. However, the use cases for a CDN are limited in scope when compared to edge computing. How so?

How Do Edge Computing and CDNs Differ?

Computing requirements are increasing with services like on-demand live sporting events, more streaming services, and machine learning and AI. Allocating computing hardware closer to users is one way businesses are protecting user experiences. The two main strategies for allocating this hardware are through a CDN and edge computing. How do they differ?

Server Location

CDN. Content delivery networks place conventional servers near users to deliver content to specific regions.

Edge computing. Edge computing also places computing devices closer to users but is not limited to conventional servers. Edge devices encompass everything from IoT devices to high-performance conventional servers and are sometimes even found at the client location.

Server Function

CDN. A CDN caches content provided by an origin server and isn’t meant to replace the host servers.

Edge computing. Edge devices take many forms, including servers that perform calculations and run applications independently from a host server.

Server Design

CDN. CDNs have less variability in their design, making it easier to find partners that can help with setup and deployment. In fact, CDN services can be purchased with relative ease.

Edge computing. Since edge devices vary greatly in design, companies need computing infrastructure that fits their unique needs. This lack of uniformity can make it challenging to find a partner to help design and deploy edge infrastructure.

After analyzing the differences, it’s clear that it’s not a case of CDN vs. edge computing. Both technologies are designed to improve your network performance and perform optimally in specific use cases. Also, many of the principles needed to build reliable CDNs apply to edge computing.

Improve Your Network With CDN and Edge Computing Strategies

The content delivery network has been around for a long time and is really just an early version of edge computing. The main difference is that a CDN focuses on transmitting cached data, while edge computing supports many other types of computing like live streaming, gaming, and AI. Despite the differences, both edge computing and CDNs are improving how people and organizations interact with data. How are CDNs and edge computing benefiting organizations today?

Edge computing and content delivery networks help organizations:

  • Improve website load times and application performance
  • Reduce bandwidth costs
  • Increase content and application availability
  • Improve website performance
  • Expand what users can accomplish over the network

If your organization is building up its edge computing infrastructure, you’re aware of its challenges. Supply chain management, custom hardware design, and deployment logistics are some of the hurdles you may be facing. Intequus helps organizations manage edge computing infrastructure throughout the life of their hardware. If you’d like to focus on providing your services and let someone else handle the infrastructure, let’s talk.

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