The progressive convergence between Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is resulting in a Computing Continuum. The multi-faceted concept of Edge Computing first became to represent a middle ground between data centers and IoT hyper-local networks of sensors and actuators. Then a much more nuanced paradigm emerged and placed computing infrastructure on a spectrum covering from the Cloud Data Centers to Edge Nodes with many intermediate levels. High Performance Computing (HPC), Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G networks are also part of this Continuum for which hardware and software need to be jointly considered.
The emergence and continued development of the Data Economy is a key megatrend that affects not only the computing sector but also the economy as a whole. Its combination with the rise of the Computing Continuum is leading to a new landscape where Europe has a role to play. This game-changing shift is redefining the technological and business context for ICT service provisioning, data management, computing and network infrastructure for both European and non-European operators.
There needs to be a unifying mechanism that is fair and equally values both the Cloud and the IoT perspective when facing both the conceptual framework and the technical challenges posed by the vision of the computing continuum. This is particularly true in the case of Edge Computing, which is seen from two almost opposite points of view: are edge nodes a scaling down of Cloud data centers or a scaling up of IoT sensors and local storage units? In this grey zone other concepts have emerged, like swarm computing, combining network and cloud capabilities for on-demand, autonomic and decentralized computing.
In order to bring the Cloud, Edge and IoT ecosystems (both from the supply and demand side) the European Commission has launched the EU Cloud-Edge-IoT initiative whose main ambition is to foster European strategic autonomy and interoperability through an open ecosystem for the computing continuum. This effort will ensure:
- A strategy for European digital autonomy through Open Source, Standards and Alliances.
- Boosted collaborations between research projects on open source and standardization.
- A Common open architecture for the computing continuum.
- A European computing continuum landscape with actionable recommendations for stakeholders.
- A community of researchers and industries working on the next generation of cloud-edge-IoT solutions.
- A participatory framework to coordinate the computing continuum project portfolio.
- A shared view by research projects on actions and priorities for a computing continuum European ecosystem.
- HUB4CLOUD Deliverable 1.1 – Towards a vibrant European Cloud Computing ecosystem (PDF available here)
Horizon Cloud Summit 2022: Keynote – Fostering the development of next-generation edge & cloud technologies in Europe
Horizon Cloud Summit 2022: Cloud-Edge-IoT convergence – challenges & way ahead
Horizon Cloud Summit 2021: Building European digital autonomy in the computing continuum
EBDVF2021 : Next generation computing infrastructures to support data spaces
Horizon Cloud Summit 2020: Quality of service for edge-to-cloud continuum
Horizon Cloud Summit 2020: The cloud-edge continuum – a key building block of European data spaces