Comparison Of Cloud And Fog Computing For Building Iot Projects

According to the Statista center, by 2020 there will be 30 billion IoT devices available in the world, and in 2025 the number of connected devices will increase to 75 billion. All these devices will contain a huge amount of data that will be processed in a convenient way. Noticing the high demand for IoT devices, cloud computing is beginning to be added to cloud computing. Fog computing is even better than cloud computing in some ways.

The purpose of this article is a comparison of fog and cloud computing, as well as to obtain as much information as possible about the capabilities of these calculations, to compare the advantages and disadvantages of using them.

Cloud computing

We have been using the term “cloud” for quite some time, which refers to a system consisting of several devices, computers and servers connected via the Internet. Such a calculation system can be figuratively divided into two parts:

  • External interface – client devices (computers, tablets, mobile phones);
  • Backend – data storage and processing systems that can be remote from client devices and the cloud itself.

These two parts of the system communicate directly with each other using wireless connections.

Cloud computing technology provides various types of services, which are divided into three groups:

  • Infrastructure Services (IaaS) – A remote data center with resources such as storage capacity, computing power, and networking;
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – development of a platform with devices and components for creating, testing and launching applications

Software Services (SaaS) – Off-the-shelf software that meets production needs.

If your company has opted for cloud storage, then you get access to the aforementioned services from one location to multiple devices. Hence, affordability is a major benefit. Plus, there is no need to maintain local services and worry about downtime – the developer will do everything for you and save you money.

Integration of the Internet of Things with the cloud is a profitable business solution. Remote servers provide the necessary capacity and flexibility to manage and analyze collected data from connected devices, while specialized platforms such as Asure IoT, Suite, IBM Watson, AWS, Google Cloud for IoT enable developers to create quality applications without huge investments in software and RAM.

Benefits of cloud computing for the Internet of Things

As connected devices limit storage capacity and processing power, cloud integration can help ensure:

  • Improved performance (fast communication between IoT sensors and data processing systems);
  • Capacity (highly scalable and unlimited storage space able to combine, connect and distribute a huge amount of data);
  • Potential processing (remote data centers provide unlimited virtual on-demand processing capabilities);
  • Reduced costs (license fees are lower than entry-level hardware and ongoing maintenance).

Disadvantages of using cloud computing for the Internet of Things

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and cloud technology has some flaws that can be seen on the Internet of Things.

  • High latency (IoT applications increasingly require latency to be as low as possible, but the cloud cannot guarantee this due to the distance between client devices and data centers);
  • Downtime (technical problems and network failures can occur for any reason in any system using the Internet, and customer data can be damaged during a power outage; to avoid problems, many companies use multiple communication channels with automated failover;
  • Security and personal information (your personal information is transferred through globally connected channels along with thousands of gigabytes of information from other users; it is not surprising that the system becomes vulnerable to data loss or cyber-attacks; the problem can be partially solved by using a hybrid cloud or creating a personal cloud storage).

Fog computing

The term fog computing (or fogging) was coined by CISCO in 2014, so it is new to most people. Fog and cloud computing are interconnected. In nature, fog is closer to the earth than clouds, in the world of technology the same thing happens, fog computing is closer to the end user, transferring the power of cloud computing to the end user.

The definition might sound like this: Fog Computing is an extension of cloud computing made up of multiple edge nodes directly connected to physical devices.

These nodes are physically much closer to the devices than centralized data centers, so they are capable of providing instant connections. The significant computing power of the peripheral nodes allows them to independently perform calculations of large amounts of data without sending them to a remote server.

Fog computing also includes cloud computing – small and powerful data centers located at the edge of the network. Their goal is to support resource-intensive IoT applications that require low latency.

The main difference between fog and cloud computing is that the cloud is a centralized system and fog is a distributed decentralized infrastructure.

Fog computing mediates between hardware and remote servers. Fog computing determines what information is sent to the server and what information can be edited locally. Thus, fog is an intelligent gateway that offloads the clouds, enabling more efficient processing and analysis of data.

It should be noted that the fog web is not a separate architecture and does not replace cloud computing, but rather complements it, as close as possible to the source of information.

The new technology is arguably the biggest impact on the Internet of Things, embedded AI and 5G, as they demand faster, more seamless performance than ever before.

Benefits of Fog Computing

The fogging approach has many benefits for IoT, big data, and real-time analytics. Here are the main advantages of fog computing over cloud computing:

  • Low response time (fog is geographically closer to users and is able to provide instant response);
  • No bandwidth problems (some of the information is aggregated at different points, rather than sent to one center through one channel);
  • The impossibility of losing the connection (due to the many connected channels);
  • High security (since data is processed by a huge number of nodes in a complex distributed system);
  • Improved user interface (instant response and no downtime delights users);
  • Energy efficiency (peripheral nodes use highly efficient protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, or Z-wave).

Disadvantages of Fog Computing

The technology does not have any obvious drawbacks, but small drawbacks can be identified:

  • The fog computing system is more complex (fog is an additional layer in the data processing and storage system);
  • Additional costs (companies must buy peripheral devices – routers, routers, gateways);
  • Limited scale (unlike cloud).

Fog and Cloud Computing: Key Differences

The concepts of fog and cloud computing are very similar. But still, there is a difference between them in some parameters. Consider a point-by-point comparison between fog and cloud computing:

The cloud architecture is centralized and consists of large data centers that can be located around the world, thousands of miles away from customers. The fog architecture is distributed and consists of millions of small nodes located as close to client devices as possible.

The fog acts as an intermediary between data centers and hardware, and therefore is closer to end users. If there is no fog layer, the cloud communicates directly with the devices, which takes a long time.

In cloud computing, data processing takes place in remote data centers. The processing and storage of fog computations is carried out at the edge of the network segment close to the source of information, which is critical for real-time control.

The cloud is more functional than fog when it comes to computing and storage capabilities.

The cloud consists of several large server nodes. The fog includes millions of small knots.

Fog computing performs short-term analysis at the edge of the network due to instant response, while cloud computing will have long-term deep analysis due to slower response.

Latency is low in cloud computing and high in cloud computing.

The cloud system can collapse if the Internet fails. Fog computing uses different protocols and standards, so the risk of failure is much lower.

Fog is a more secure system than cloud because of its distributed architecture.


New requirements for modern technologies are the driving force behind the development of information technology. The Internet of Things is an ever-growing industry that requires more efficient ways to manage information flow and data processing.

Fog computing is one of the solutions for working with IoT devices, as it can meet the needs of an ever-growing number of connected devices. They use local rather than remote computer resources, making performance more efficient and powerful, and reducing bandwidth issues.

Companies must compare cloud versus fog computing to maximize the opportunities available and leverage the high potential.

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