Several years ago one of the morning talks at CiscoLive was on fog computing. At the time the hype for cloud computing was well entrenched, so fog computing seemed to bring things back to earth with a more realistic promise of local processing of the massive amount of data expected from the ever-increasing billions of IoT devices predicted.

Today, an active OpenFog Consortium brings Cisco together with other heavy hitters in the hardware industry like Intel, Dell and Arm working to be ready for the expected fuse lighting for IoT with the arrival of 5G networks.

Fog computing is about choice. It’s the choice to process data wherever it’s most appropriate to do so. For applications where processing speed is critical, the low-latency network connections between devices and analytics endpoints saves the round trip of pumping data to a data center or cloud and sending results back. In situations where there is no bandwidth or connection to send data to a central location, local connections and processing enable analytics and decision making. Finally, fog computing adds one more intermediate step for a firewall to segment network traffic for increased security.

All the cliché applications come up in discussions of fog computing — connected cars, smart cities and smart grids… Other applications focus on the real-time analytics capabilities from manufacturing systems to using real-time data for trading decisions at financial institutions to monitoring for fraud.

Out-of-band management for fog computing

What does fog computing mean for people that run networks? It’s more distributed gear to manage. Wireless routers and aggregation points with the storage and processing to run analysis on incoming data pushes critical applications out of the data center and into the field.

This another opportunity for out-of-band management because the last thing most business are looking to do is increase the management tax of running a network. Remote access, monitoring and automation of a platform like Uplogix saves both support time and effort as well as improves SLAs. Considering that fog computing will enable higher value and automated decision making for IoT endpoints, security of fog infrastructure and the management tools for it needs to be bulletproof.

If you take the definition of fog computing, Uplogix has been there since before clouds of any form were popular. We’re deploying in the field for data collection and evaluation of network infrastructure device health. Then Uplogix decides what information to pass back to centralized management tools and can even take automated actions based on the data collected to recover devices from issues and keep the network running. That’s not foggy at all.