IoT will transform the data centre


18 March 2014
IoT will transform the data centre

The Internet of Things (IoT) has a potential transformational effect on the data centre market, its customers, technology providers, technologies, and sales and marketing models, according to information technology research and advisory company Gartner. Gartner estimates that the IoT will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding US$300 billion, mostly in services.

"IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analysed in real time," said Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centres, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges."

The IoT connects remote assets and provides a data stream between the asset and centralised management systems. Those assets can then be integrated into new and existing organisational processes to provide information on status, location, functionality, and so on. Real-time information enables more accurate understanding of status, and it enhances utilisation and productivity through optimised usage and more accurate decision support. Business and data analytics give insights into the business requirements data feed from the IoT environment and will help predict the fluctuations of IoT-enriched data and information.

"The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data, creates challenges, particularly in the areas of security, data, storage management, servers and the data centre network, as real-time business processes are at stake," said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Data centre managers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management in these areas to be able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT."

 Gartner has identified the following potential challenges:

  • Security — The increasing digitisation and automation of the multitudes of devices deployed across different areas of modern urban environments are set to create new security challenges to many industries.
  • Enterprise — Significant security challenges will remain as the big data created as a result of the deployment of myriad devices will drastically increase security complexity. This, in turn, will have an impact on availability requirements, which are also expected to increase, putting real-time business processes and, potentially, personal safety at risk.
  • Consumer Privacy — As is already the case with smart metering equipment and increasingly digitised automobiles, there will be a vast amount of data providing information on users' personal use of devices that, if not secured, can give rise to breaches of privacy. This is particularly challenging as the information generated by IoT is a key to bringing better services and the management of such devices.
  • Data — The impact of the IoT on storage is two-pronged in types of data to be stored: personal data (consumer-driven) and big data (enterprise-driven). As consumers utilise apps and devices continue to learn about the user, significant data will be generated.
  • Storage Management — The impact of the IoT on storage infrastructure is another factor contributing to the increasing demand for more storage capacity, and one that will have to be addressed as this data becomes more prevalent. The focus today must be on storage capacity, as well as whether or not the business can harvest and use IoT data in a cost-effective manner.
  • Server Technologies — The impact of IoT on the server market will be largely focused on increased investment in key vertical industries and organisations related to those industries where IoT can be profitable or add significant value.
  • Data Centre Network — Existing data centre WAN links are sized for the moderate-bandwidth requirements generated by human interactions with applications. IoT promises to dramatically change these patterns by transferring massive amounts of small message sensor data to the data centre for processing, dramatically increasing inbound data centre bandwidth requirements.

"Data centre operations and providers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management platforms that can include a data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) system approach of aligning IT and operational technology (OT) standards and communications protocols to be able to proactively provide the production facility to process the IoT data points based on the priorities and the business needs," said Biscotti.