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Introduction to Fog Computing

Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralized computing architecture in which business logic and computing power are distributed in the most logical, efficient place between the things producing data and the cloud. Fog computing essentially extends cloud computing and services to the edge of the network, bringing the advantages and power of the cloud closer to where data is created and acted upon.

The main idea behind Fog computing is to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of data transported to the cloud for processing, analysis and storage. But it also used for security, performance and business logical reasons.

The Fog Computing architecture is used for applications and services within various industries such as industry IoT, vehicle networks, smart cities, smart buildings and so forth. The architecture can be applied in almost any things-to-cloud scenario.

The metaphor fog originates from the idea of a cloud closer to the ground. A cloud service closer to the data sources. During 2015 Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and a couple of other enterprises were gathered in a joint consortium to push for the idea of Fog Computing.

Open Fog Consortium is today one of the largest communities that spreads knowledge about the benefits of Fog Computing. Their mission is to develop an open reference architecture and convey the business value of fog computing.

How fog computing works

Edge devices, sensors, and applications generate an enormous amount of data on a daily basis. The data producing devices are often to simple or don´t have the resources to perform necessary analytics or machine-learning tasks. They just produce information to the cloud.

The Cloud has the power and ability to manage these computing tasks. But the cloud is often too far away to process the data and respond in time. Connecting all the endpoints directly to the cloud is not an option. Though sending raw data over the internet can have privacy, security and legal implications.

In the Fog Computing architecture, the processing takes place in a smart device close to the source. It can be raspberryPI, gateway or a router. Where the software reduce the amount of data sent to the cloud and takes action depending on the business logic applied in the Fog Node. In order to improve the work of the data source.

For the discussion, it is important to note that Fog Computing complements - not replaces - cloud computing. Fog Computing analyze and take decisions on data in motion. While the cloud performs resource-intensive, longer-term analytics on data in rest.

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