With the wide adoption of cloud-based applications, the number of hops has significantly increased, compared to on-premise applications, due to the addition of the wide area network between the requestor and the service processing the request. Every hop can be a potential contributor to latency. When the number of hops increases, the latency is also likely to increase; moreover, it becomes a challenge to maintain the consistency of latency due to the variability in the performance characteristics of each hop.
Today, cloud architects have focused their efforts on optimizing the number of hops and processing at the closest point possible once a request reaches the cloud provider’s network. Approaches such as caching, direct routes, and geo-based routing are commonly used. These approaches help improve backend processing latency, but the path from the end user to the cloud consists of many more hops through the carrier’s networks and the internet.
To further decrease the overall latency, 5G and edge computing have emerged as a potential game changer. It not only reduces the number of hops, but can influence the entire journey of the request through the last mile, the transport network, and the back-end cloud services.