Will Cisco’s Fog Computing Gather Steam?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 03, 2014


Cisco is aiming at bridging cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), a term for the connected system of ­devices and applications. And in order to do so, it is creating new conversations around Fog Computing. Albeit a term coined by Cisco, many in the industry believe Fog computing can take the data and workload technology to a new level, despite certain concerns.

What’s the Buzz?

Closely resembling the concepts of cloud computing, the Fog aims to take services, workloads, applications and large amounts of data and deliver it all to the edge of the network. In a blog, the company explains its ambitions on Fog Computing, stating that is developing a new network called IOx to manage the data collected from the Internet of Things. According to the company, it is a “highly virtualized platform that provides compute, storage and networking services between devices and cloud computing data centres”. This model — called distributed computing — aims to process data closer to where it is collected.

In “the next seven years, we think half of Internet traffic is going to come from things… And you can’t bring all that data back to the cloud, you have to process it closer to the edge,” Cisco’s IoT vice president, Guido Jouret, said in a video interview. “

Giving an example of Fog computing he mentions that it could include smart traffic lights that adjust to turn green if they detect an approaching ambulance, or trains that can send an automatic alert to operators if they need maintenance. In other words, Cisco hopes the new solution will solve main problem of connecting the Internet of Things to internet-connected devices.

The Foggy part

Industry watchers believe even though Fog Computing has potential to connect applications and network seamlessly, Cisco may not see an instant success. “The company is not turn routers into massive data-crunching server centres any time soon. The routers will instead be used to carry out simple tasks by processing the signals between the cloud and the “Thing” that is operating within the Internet of Things,” points out IT analyst Lee Brian. However when Cisco combines Linux with its Internetworking Operating System (IOS) to create a distributed infrastructure, users can seamlessly connect to industry-specific systems, he says.

There are other areas of concern. According to analysts, although Internet of Things is already causing a buzz and is the future of enterprise, on the flip side, as devices and data become interconnected, it can give rise to increased security challenges. In an IEEE survey, nearly 50% of respondents state that privacy and security are the biggest concerns in the adoption of IOT.

Andrew Rose, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research states that there is an increased risk of data to be stolen or compromised when deploying IOT solutions. Moreover, companies should have a security policy in place to identify targets, evolve key security control, add newer delivery mechanisms and review their security scenario frequently, he says. It is here that Cisco has to gear up and offer a greater security to its newly created fog Computing solutions in order to make it a success, say experts.

Cisco however is optimistic to accelerate innovation in the Internet of Things by delivering IOx. “We believe that this turns the network into the fourth platform for computing, which will unleash new applications in manufacturing, transportation, smart cities and many other industries,” Jouret says in a statement.