Edge Computing With Actian Zen: Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future

Kasey Nolan

June 26, 2024

Edge Computing with Actian Zen: Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future

Consider your morning commute–taking your kids to school, your morning coffee run, hurrying to the office–how much time do you spend in the car? And how much money are you spending filling up your tank? Or maybe you’re like me and desperately trying not to think about your carbon footprint every time you drive 20 minutes (each way!) to the grocery store.

Now imagine how it would be if your office was just a block or two down the street, daycare right next door, and your grocery store in-between. Imagine the time savings, cost savings, and reduction in your personal carbon emissions if you could do everything you need, but without having to travel as far. If you could snap your fingers to make it happen, would you?

That’s the question being asked across the world of data processing. Businesses are increasingly seeking efficient and sustainable ways to manage and process their data across the world. End-users are less patient and the sheer volume of data being transferred from one endpoint to the next has massive implications for energy consumption and overall latency.

One solution to this is edge computing, which is the data processing equivalent of reducing your commute from an hour to two minutes. Not only does edge computing use fewer resources and energy, but it’s faster and more efficient, making it a greener choice for managing data.

Understanding Edge Computing

Before delving into the sustainability benefits, it’s crucial to understand what edge computing is. Edge computing is a distributed computing framework where data is processed closer to where it is generated, rather than relying on a centralized data center or the cloud. If you’ve ever used the Target App for shopping, you may notice it’ll give a little warning for items that are low in stock. “Only 2 left at your store!” Retailers like Target use edge enabled sensors to track products on shelves in real-time, automating inventory management for a more reliable picture of what’s available locally.

If not for IoT sensors and edge computing, you likely wouldn’t get a real-time view of inventory– data would be collected via barcode scans, transferred to a centralized data center that could be states away, batch processed, and then synchronized with inventory systems. This could take minutes, hours, or even days depending on the company, and this process is rife with problems like latency, network reliability, bandwidth constraints, and high infrastructure costs. Not to mention that a central server represents a single point of failure–meaning if one store is down, they all are. Not a great experience for shoppers, and a great case for moving to the edge.

The Sustainability Edge

Because it’s 2024, sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are paramount. For example, 90% of S&P 500 companies release ESG reports, and ESG initiatives are considered by 89% of investors when making investment decisions. Sticking with those high numbers, 89% of executives plan to increase their overall technology budget, and 28% say that at least one-fifth of their workforce is involved in emerging tech as part of their primary job function. That’s a huge amount of people who are actively considering both sustainability and emerging technologies in their day-to-day work, in their projections, and in their strategic initiatives.

Edge computing marries these two initiatives beautifully. For instance, 60% of companies are using edge to some degree today, and half of those have deeply integrated edge into their digital core. In fact, Forbes predicts a mass migration from the cloud to the edge in 2024. The sustainability advantages perfectly complement the cost savings and consumer benefits of edge computing as opposed to the traditional cloud.

Here are three primary ways edge computing supports ESG:

  1. Reduced Energy Consumption: Traditional data centers and cloud computing require substantial energy to power and cool the vast arrays of servers. This energy consumption not only translates into high operational costs but also contributes significantly to carbon emissions. Edge computing, on the other hand, decentralizes data processing, distributing it across multiple edge devices that are often located closer to the data source. This decentralization reduces the load on central data centers, leading to lower overall energy consumption.
  2. Optimized Bandwidth Usage: Transmitting large volumes of data to and from centralized data centers or the cloud can be bandwidth-intensive. This not only increases operational costs but also places a strain on network infrastructure. By processing data at the edge, organizations can significantly reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted over the network. This not only optimizes bandwidth usage but also reduces the associated energy consumption and emissions.
  3. Decreased Latency and Improved Efficiency: One of the inherent advantages of edge computing is the reduction in latency. By processing data closer to the source, edge computing eliminates the delays associated with transmitting data to distant data centers. This not only enhances the speed and responsiveness of applications but also improves overall system efficiency.

Actian Zen: A Sustainable Edge Solution

Edge computing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it takes the right toolkit to take advantage of all the benefits. You need to be sure you have the right database and a database management system (DBMS) that’s edge compatible.

Enter Actian Zen, a high-performance, embedded, and zero-administration DBMS designed for edge computing, IoT applications, and mobile environments. Known for its small footprint, low resource consumption, and ability to operate efficiently on a wide range of devices, Actian Zen provides a versatile and powerful DBMS that meets the needs of modern business across various industries.

Three main benefits Zen delivers include:

  1. Optimizing IT and Cloud Expenditures: Actian Zen is designed to operate efficiently on a wide range of devices, from IoT sensors to industrial gateways. Its compact size means it can be deployed on low-power devices, reducing the need for energy-intensive hardware. Additionally, by processing data locally at the edge, Actian Zen significantly reduces the need for extensive data transmission to central servers or cloud environments. This local processing minimizes bandwidth usage and decreases the load on centralized data centers, leading to lower operational costs associated with data storage and cloud services. Furthermore, the reduced reliance on large, energy-intensive data centers aligns with sustainability goals by lowering overall energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  2. Ensuring Compliance with Internal Policies and External Regulations: By enabling data processing at the edge, Actian Zen reduces the need for data transmission to centralized servers, thus saving bandwidth and energy. This local processing aligns with sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing energy consumption and emissions. Actian Zen also features role-based access, which allows for granular control over who can access and manipulate data, aligning with internal security policies and regulatory standards.
  3. Enabling Scalability and Flexibility to Accommodate Future Growth: With Actian Zen, developers can scale from a core set of libraries capable of single-user client data management to a full-fledged, enterprise-grade server. It’s capable of supporting thousands of users on multicore, VM cloud environments, or in Docker containers with Kubernetes orchestration and Helm chart deployment configuration.

Zen: The Sustainable Database Solution

As the demand for sustainable computing solutions grows, edge computing with Actian Zen emerges as a game-changer. By reducing energy consumption, optimizing bandwidth usage, and decreasing latency, Actian Zen not only enhances operational efficiency but also contributes to a greener future. If you’re looking to balance performance with sustainability, you’ll find Actian Zen’s edge computing capabilities to be a compelling choice. Embrace the power of edge computing with Actian Zen and take a step toward a more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly future.

Kasey Nolan

About Kasey Nolan

Kasey Nolan serves as Actian’s Solutions Product Marketing Manager. She has spent 10 years supporting both sales and marketing in the cloud Infrastructure as a Service space, specializing in cloud and edge compute technologies. At Actian, she is responsible for aligning marketing and sales messages, emphasizing the use cases (jobs to be done) and solutions addressed by the Actian Portfolio.