Don’t Get Lost in the Fog

Cloud computing offers processing power and storage capabilities that few organisations can match, and for a relatively low cost.  Indeed, there are those who believe one day, all our computing will reside in the cloud. 

However, there is a pressing issue with cloud computing and that is bandwidth which is why there is a new acronym in town – FOG computing, which is inclined towards an element of local processing and storage.  What’s more, it builds greater resilience into the system and gives greater protection to the most sensitive data.  Its growth is fuelling demand from businesses for smaller, five-rack systems.


Sending and retrieving data from a one computer to a remote server is subject to a delay known as latency, which is typically measured in milliseconds.   In a world which is based on mass connectivity, latency (and therefore bandwidth) is a critical issue.   If an app or website doesn’t load in seconds, users will go elsewhere.

Bandwidth overload

The internet of things (IoT), describes an environment where ever-increasing numbers of devices (from the plant manufacturing line to a household fridge) have embedded sensors and computers, all of which are collecting and processing data and sending it to the cloud for storage.

But, as the IoT gathers pace, an ever-increasing number of devices are becoming internet-enabled, which means millions of machines, gadgets and household items are sending small packets of data to the cloud every second of the day.  The speed at which the data travels is dictated by the bandwidth and it is increasingly becoming overloaded.  This limitation in the system is illustrated by the exploits of cyber attackers.  They task networkable devices to send massive amounts of data to websites, effectively blocking them.

However, anyone whose business is totally dependent on the cloud needs full connectivity without internet interruption or downtime.

What is FOG?

The principle of fog is quite simple – it describes temporary storage and processing capability closer to home/the application.

Barry Maidment, IT Sales Manager, Rittal South, advises: “Essentially, fog computing is a relatively small computer that gathers, caches, and feeds data into and out of the giant servers in the cloud.  The term “fog” was apparently coined because it describes something closer to the ground and nearer the application.  The “cloud” by contrast is a distant facility.

“Smartphones are a good example in that they rely on the cloud while our increasingly dependency on them means they are constantly looking for and retrieving data.  Unfortunately, 3G and 4G cellular networks cannot transmit data to the cloud at the speed it is generated, so smartphones offer some local storage and processing power.”

Fog is also likened in some quarters to RAM in a PC or laptop – data on it can be accessed randomly and at a great speed by the processor.  RAM caches data before depositing it onto the hard drive.  The processor can get on with its job and the computer gets faster with more RAM.

The same concept applies to fog – data processing is faster when a business has local storage facilities, near the IT application.  When time is available, it then passes the consolidated data to the main cloud.

Fog Builds Resilience

For a larger application, such as a factory, fog computing typically describes five or six racks on the premises which pass data to the cloud periodically rather than as a constant stream.

Barry advises:  “The great advantage of fog, particularly for business critical functions, is that if your connection to the internet goes down and contact is lost with the cloud, you can still function as a business.  It builds resilience into the system.

“So even if you place the majority of your data in the cloud, it’s unlikely that you’ll turn off all your IT.  You’ll still need some IT close to your premises.”

Rittal is now installing more small, five-rack systems being installed to handle local processing and the growth of IoT.  Not only does this reduce latency, it means a business’s most sensitive data can be more securely stored and resilience is improved.

And as more and more data is collected, analysed and processed through IoT, so the need for fog computing will increase.

Further information at and or on twitter @rittal_ltd.

National Infrastructure Forum #NIF17

Join us in London on the 13th of  June 2017 at The UK’s premier cross-sector infrastructure event.

Rittal will be attending the National Infrastructure Forum at London ExCeL on Tuesday 13 June 2017 along with other leading organisations from across the infrastructure sector.

The National Infrastructure Forum attracts over 1200 visitors from across the Energy, Transport, and Construction & Engineering Sectors. For one day only, all the key players from across the UK infrastructure supply chain come together to learn about new opportunities, exchange ideas, see the latest products and network with their peers.

The Forum covers the key areas critical to Britain’s infrastructure needs, and provides high level engagement for the public and private sectors through networking, meetings, knowledge sharing and the promotion of the right solutions and services from industry leaders – all in one place.

Visit us on Stand 128 to speak to our expert team, who will be on hand throughout the show to provide advice and details of how Rittal can help you.

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System solutions for all airport applications

We take it for granted that airports and airlines will run smoothly to get our journeys off to a good start. The thought of queues at check-in and to board a flight doesn’t fill anyone with joy, but it’s particularly galling if delays and lengthy waiting times are caused by problems arising from back-end systems and security infrastructure.  As we’ve seen, these can quickly lead to flights grounded, online services being unavailable and a large number of very frustrated travelers – many of whom may avow to switch provider in future.

The truth is that airline and airport services now revolve around online systems and the electrical equipment that drives them.  From reservations and baggage handling, to air traffic control and control rooms, apron navigation and airside lighting – all depend on devices such as servers, UPS batteries, PLCs and inverter drives.

These components can be sensitive pieces of kit and they certainly don’t react well to high temperatures.  But any interruption in their service can cause unutterable chaos in not only the airport or facility that houses them but those much farther afield as well, with the effects felt for days and weeks afterwards.

There have been several recent high profile cases in which outages or failures have had significant consequences.

The examples highlighted underline the need for airlines and airports to adopt a
belt and braces approach to their infrastructure, ideally having them professionally audited and putting measures in place to make them resilient.

We assist suppliers to airports
and airports themselves in protecting and providing the ideal environment for electrical and electronic equipment, whether located indoors or outdoors, thereby reducing the risk of failure that could affect critical processes.  

Rittal is a global manufacturer of IT racks, industrial enclosures and complementary climate control and power distribution products.  Although we supply these products to our customers, the greatest need we satisfy is peace of mind.


Rittal Publishes New IT and Manufacturing Product Catalogue

Rittal’s new System Catalogue 35 showcases the company’s portfolio of products for the IT and manufacturing industries, which are designed to address the needs of design engineers, switchgear manufacturers and data centre operators.
With more than 900 pages, the latest catalogue is full of facts and figures on the broadest range of industrial enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure products, anywhere in the world.
For the first time, the catalogue will also feature solutions from Rittal Automation Systems and from Eplan.
It is available both in hardback and online, in German and English, with 13 further languages to follow shortly.
Rittal’s new System Catalogue – edition 35 – provides IT professionals, and control and switchgear manufacturers with a comprehensive overview of Rittal’s entire product portfolio.
This includes solutions for industrial housings and enclosures, power distribution, climate control and IT infrastructure, as well as software and services.
The publication also now features automation technology and handling tools for workshops. Users will find practical guidance on a broad range of software for the efficient design and configuration of control units and switchgear available from sister company Eplan.
The PDF version of the catalogue links the order number to the corresponding product landing page on the Internet. Users can pull up datasheets, configuration tools, CAD data, videos, certificates of conformity, performance diagrams, approvals, assembly and operating instructions, plus much more. There is also a direct connection to the Rittal online shop, with user-friendly functions for selection and purchase of the products described.

Image - Catalogue 35 open and closed fri171705900 a4 v3 GB
To receive a free copy of the catalogue, simply send an e-mail to Rittal at