Fastly’s Mega Web Outage Won’t Hold Back Edge Computing, Which Could Be A $27 Billion Market In A Few Years – Forbes

A major internet outage impacted a host of high-profile websites this morning, including Amazon, Reddit, Twitch, the New York Times, Forbes, CNN and Hulu, as well as the U.K. government’s gov.uk website. The outage also caused partial disruption at other services such as Twitter.

In a statement, cloud computing provider Fastly said it was responsible for the outage, blaming it on a technical error rather than a cyberattack. “We identified a service configuration that triggered disruption across our PoPs [points of presence] globally and have disabled that configuration.” The affected services started coming back online after being out of action for around an hour.

The episode shines a spotlight on a technology called “edge computing,” which is becoming more and more popular with CIOs and other technology leaders. Fastly runs a so-called “edge cloud,” which speeds up the time it takes for content to load on to websites by moving the computing power needed to handle data out of traditional data centers and bringing it nearer to users via a globally distributed network of servers.

The same kind of tech is also being used to accelerate the collection and transmission of data from all kinds of things, including driverless cars and machines on factory production lines. Combining it with 5G wireless connectivity (and future generations of high-speed wireless) will make it easier than ever for businesses to capture data from customers, stores and manufacturing facilities. Even a few milliseconds saved in transmission times can translate into millions in cost savings or extra revenue.

Factory inspections

The market for the tech, which is being promoted by companies including Fastly, Akamai, Lumen and Intel, is still relatively small, but most analysts predict explosive growth over the rest of the decade. Research firm Gartner forecasts that spending on the hardware and software needed to support edge tech could hit $12.4 billion this year and just over $19 billion in 2024. Another estimate by ResearchandMarkets.com puts it as high as $26.7 billion by 2026.

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One of the biggest growth opportunities is in manufacturing. A recent report from Intel, which is among the companies promoting the tech, cites the example of Audi, which has used edge computing at one of its German manufacturing plants to speed up quality control of welding on its vehicles. By making inspections 100 times faster using AI-driven machine vision, the tech has helped Audi cut labor costs significantly.

That kind of upside means events such as the Fastly outage are unlikely to hold back the tech’s adoption. Businesses are hungry for more data to power the artificial intelligence models that are becoming ever more central to business success, and edge computing promises to deliver more of the raw material faster. Research firm IDC predicts that by 2023, more than half of new enterprise IT infrastructure deployed will be distributed in nature, rather than being concentrated in mega data centers.

Fastly’s mishap, though, is a reminder of the risks of relying on a relatively small number of edge-computing providers to support such deployments. An outage that affects the websites of media companies is unfortunate, but an outage that, say, stops safety data from production lines being transmitted or disrupts data flowing from connected vehicles could have far more serious consequences.

A tempting cybertarget

CIOs and other technology leaders will need to ask tough questions of their suppliers’ emergency plans and ensure their own companies have backup networks in place in case one is hit by an outage or targeted by hackers, who will inevitably see edge computing as a new frontier to target for ransomware and other cyberattacks.

“Perhaps most important is to remember [is] that no system is perfect,” said Josh Chessman, a senior research director at Gartner, in emailed comments to Forbes. “Companies like Fastly . . . work very hard to prevent outages from happening, but even with the best of planning, procedures and intentions, outages will happen.”

This UrIoTNews article is syndicated fromGoogle News