Cloudlets: Where the cloud meets intelligent devices

Hyperscale public clouds are well established as the new platform for systems of record. Providers of ERP, supply chain, marketing, and sales applications are today predominantly or exclusively based in hyperscale public clouds. Oracle alone has thousands of customers for its front-office and back-office SaaS. And the list of customers is growing at a rate far exceeding that of traditional front-office and back-office applications.

Hyperscale public clouds are also, of course, a proper place to run new cloud-native applications that enhance or extend those system-of-record applications. These new applications are architected differently. While systems of record are typically large, monolithic applications running in virtual machines in the cloud, cloud-native applications are usually written as microservices, packaged in containers, and orchestrated to deliver a complete application to users. Among the benefits of this approach:

  • Faster innovation
  • The ability to provide specific customization for each application use
  • Improved reuse of code
  • Cost savings versus conventional virtualization due to the greater deployment density of containers and more efficient consumption of resources

All of this is common knowledge, endlessly touted, no longer debated.

Less discussed, however, is the galaxy of applications that aren’t necessarily suitable for centralized hyperscale cloud deployment. Instead, these applications thrive in distributed computing environments, potentially based on cloud services, at or close to the edge of the network. These applications are systems of engagement and systems of control.