The Impact of the Internet of Things on the Data Center

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
April 8, 2014

Last month, Dan Park wrote a blog highlighting the complexity of the Internet of Things (IoT). With so many devices connected to Internet at his house, security and the management of these connections is more complicated than ever. He closed his post with the question ‘What’s the implication for the data center?’

While the Internet of Things is typically geared toward the consumer and applications, these apps and data connections are making their way to data centers and enterprises. With the volume of devices and data they generate, the data center will face some inherent challenges.

Gartner recently released some findings that identify seven challenges created by the Internet of Things:

  1. Security — The increasing digitization 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.
  2. 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 affect availability requirements, which are also expected to increase, putting real-time business processes and, potentially, personal safety at risk.
  3. Consumer Privacy — As is already the case with smart metering equipment and increasingly digitized 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 better services and the management of such devices.
  4. Data — The effect of IoT on data to be stored is two-pronged: personal data (consumer-driven) and big data (enterprise-driven). Consumers utilizing apps and devices continuing to learn about users will generate significant amounts of data .
  5. 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, and whether or not the business can harvest and use IoT data cost-effectively.
  6. Server Technologies — The impact of IoT on the server market will be largely focused on increased investment in key vertical industries and organizations related to those industries where IoT can be profitable or add significant value.
  7. Data Center Network — Existing data center 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 center for processing, dramatically increasing inbound data center bandwidth requirements.

While Gartner paints the image of mountainous hurdles, there are some strides being made and the IoT is still in its infancy. That said, there certainly is work to be done and, much like BYOD, which transformed enterprise networks and data centers, it needs to start with a comprehensive security and IoT policy.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Data Center

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