I'm reading a work on Cloud services and it touches briefly upon "Fog computing" as an example of possible future development branch of software-hardware infrastructure, without specifying what it is exactly and any of its benefits.

Wikipedia has a few words about Fog computing on its Edge computing page. I suppose it could mean that processing is distributed unevenly between a set of devices, but it's somehow different from concentrating all processing on central data server (cloud computing) or end-user devices (edge computing), but I'm not sure.

So what exactly is "Fog computing"?

  • 21
    "What is fog computing?" - A buzzword. – Superbest Mar 24 '14 at 4:36
  • @Superbest - Like "cloud computing" wasn't enough of a buzzword already. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 28 '14 at 22:06

Fog Computing is a paradigm that extends Cloud computing and services to the edge of the network. Similar to Cloud, Fog provides data, compute, storage, and application services to end-users. The distinguishing Fog characteristics are its proximity to end-users, its dense geographical distribution, and its support for mobility. Services are hosted at the network edge or even end devices such as set-top-boxes or access points. By doing so, Fog reduces service latency, and improves QoS, resulting in superior user-experience. Fog Computing supports emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) applications that demand real-time/predictable latency (industrial automation, transportation, networks of sensors and actuators). Thanks to its wide geographical distribution the Fog paradigm is well positioned for real time big data and real time analytics. Fog supports densely distributed data collection points, hence adding a fourth axis to the often mentioned Big Data dimensions (volume, variety, and velocity).

Unlike traditional data centers, Fog devices are geographically distributed over heterogeneous platforms, spanning multiple management domains. Cisco is interested in innovative proposals that facilitate service mobility across platforms, and technologies that preserve end-user and content security and privacy across domains.

Fog provides unique advantages for services across several verticals such as IT, entertainment, advertising, personal computing etc. Cisco is specially interested in proposals that focus on Fog Computing scenarios related to Internet of Everything (IoE), Sensor Networks, Data Analytics and other data intensive services to demonstrate the advantages of such a new paradigm, to evaluate the trade-offs in both experimental and production deployments and to address potential research problems for those deployments.

From http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac50/ac207/crc_new/university/RFP/rfp13078.html

  • 24
    I would claim that cloud computing already has all the elements of fog computing and that this is mostly the creation of a new term for marketing purposes. – Dan D. Mar 23 '14 at 16:12
  • 7
    Wow. I was expecting "low-level cloud" or something about low visibility and got a wall of marketing babble. I'm no wiser. – njd Mar 23 '14 at 17:33
  • 5
    @njd : I'd argue that you're wiser, just not in the way you had hoped. – Brian Adkins Mar 23 '14 at 18:02
  • 12
    @DanD. You mean just like Cloud Computing describes something which we were already doing for decades but then got a new term for marketing purposes? – Philipp Mar 23 '14 at 18:46
  • 1
    @DanD.: I don't think "cloud computing" does describe anything. Some say that X is cloud computing, others say Y is. I say the Common Cloud is just an icon in a network diagram representing the internet. – phresnel Mar 24 '14 at 11:40

Perhaps it's not what they were driving at, but what came through to me might be described as "distributed cloud" computing - instead of collecting such data at a central (named) site or complex, the data resides "locally" with respect to it's origin, and accessed via an ip address based (or name server based) location mechanism - similar to dietributed computing mechanisms already in place, but data oriented. Any takers?

  • Sounds like the definition of internet in general. – user1306322 Mar 28 '14 at 21:27
  • Cloud service: Service accessed remotely over the internet.

  • Fog service: Cloud service with caching mixed in. A fog service appears to be accessed from a central, Internet or corporate WAN accessible location, but is actually accessed locally, but the locally hosted service transparently caches or distributes, unbeknownst to the end user.

  • I wonder what determines what data should be cached locally in case user needs to access it. Also what could be the actual use cases? – user1306322 Mar 28 '14 at 21:29
  • In other words, "fog" is what Google has used for years. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 28 '14 at 22:07
  • @user1306322 - maybe something like Panzura: panzura.com/products/global-file-system - your systems on a given network access a network-local Panzura, but the Panzura's across networks sync data in the background. – LawrenceC Mar 28 '14 at 22:35
  • @ultrasawblade so, basically, synced storage, like Google Drive? – user1306322 Mar 28 '14 at 23:41
  • @user1306322 - I think the "just-in-time" aspect of it is important to the concept as well. Imagine you have files in two locations. An intelligent caching system would transparently copy file from A to B only when someone at B asks for the file - or anticipates it. Location B doesn't really know or care where the files are, the caching/backend figures all that out. – LawrenceC Mar 29 '14 at 1:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.