The majority of organizations are on the lookout for new sources of big data which can be analyzed for greater insights into improving business processes, enhancing customer relationships and fostering the success of the company overall. Some of these groups have begun turning to the vast amounts of information starting to come in from connected appliances and units as part of the Internet of Things, and according to Gartner, this trend will only grow in the near future.
Analysts predict that by 2020, approximately 26 billion items will be installed and linked to the IoT. This sector will generate more than $300 billion in revenues, most of which coming as a result of service needs. As this industry expands, data centers will be leveraged to gather and analyze the large quantities of information being created by these devices and their users, noted Gartner research director Fabrizio Biscotti.
"Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase workloads at data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges," Biscotti said.
Data Center Services Needed to Examine IoT Big Data
While businesses were previously utilizing an array of sources to gather information, the amount of big data from the IoT will likely overtake these other points. However, this may create challenges as many companies do not have the in-house resources to adequately archive, maintain and analyze this valuable data.
"How do you store and archive that [data]?" asked Philip DesAutels, Xively vice president of technology. "You might face a massive bandwidth cost from tiny bits of data … Little data becomes a problem when you start doing millions of things."
This is where data center services come in. Companies looking to best use their big data can lean on the data center services market to address these needs. DesAutels pointed out that data center research shows these facilities will have new practices and protocols to implement as a result of the new IoT analytics approach.
Data Center Challenges Related to the IoT
Joe Skorupa, Gartner vice president and analyst, pointed out that one of the main obstacles data center operators must address in relation to providing effective services for IoT analytics is capacity. Not only will the system produce an enormous amount of information, but content being generated will likely be comprised of both consumer-based personal data and big data associated with enterprises.
As a result, the IoT will also affect storage management practices within data centers. Facilities should seek to considerably increase their storage capacity and infrastructure resources to be able to adequately support IoT-related big data processes.
"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," Gartner stated.
These new processes will also affect bandwidth usage, not only in the business itself, but also in the data center. Current data center networks leverage WAN links for medium broadband needs related to users' activities on applications. The IoT is sure to shift this trend, however, by requiring bandwidth to support the transmission of tremendous quantities of small message sensor information to data centers for processing. Therefore, facilities will have to boost their bandwidth capabilities there as well.
Yet another issue to address is that of disaster recovery and business continuity. Organizations will have new backup demands for their big data, creating substantial challenges for data centers.
"Data center operations and providers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management platforms that can include a data center infrastructure management 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," Biscotti said.