Edge computing will blow away the cloud – CIO

March 5, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Cloud Computing

SAN FRANCISCO — The ubiquitous cloud computing craze may not be long for this world if venture capitalist Peter Levine is right. The Andreessen Horowitz general partner said that as more computing capabilities move to so-called “edge” devices, including anything from driverless cars and drones to the boundless devices that make up the internet of things (IoT), the cloud will slowly evaporate.

“A large portion of computation that gets done in the cloud today will return to the edge,” said Levine at the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network event here Tuesday.

Levine said the driverless car, whose 200-plus CPUs effectively make it a “data center on wheels,” is a prime example of an edge device whose computing capabilities must be self-contained. Levine said that an autonomous vehicle relying on the cloud for data would blow through stop signs and crash because of the latency associated with transmitting data from the car to the cloud. The cloud will also cripple many scenarios for machine learning, which relies on speedy computing to deliver faster decision-making.

Edge computing is less a novelty than perhaps the next computing cycle, Levine said. Decades ago most computing was centralized in mainframes, with banks and most other large enterprise relying on the refrigerator-sized cabinets to manage their business operations.