How the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive adoption of Software Defined Storage
Real world IoT use cases are everywhere. There are those we are familiar with as consumers: the app-controlled central heating system that sends household fuel consumption data to gas and electricity providers; the telemetry devices in the cars of inexperienced drivers, which report speed, location and journey duration data to the insurer; and the smart watch that records our sleep patterns, exercise workouts and our heart rate. Then there are those we are becoming familiar with as employees: the cameras that count us in and out of the workplace, manage security in retail outlets, or examine and optimise our journeys around a warehouse, and check ‘real’ stock levels vs the ERP count.
Smart cities have gone from a futuristic concept to a working reality, accounting for 1 in 5 IoT projects globally. In Europe, London, Barcelona, Berlin and Dublin all have cameras that measure and manage the flow of traffic, see the flow of people on the street, and systems that plan the use of public transport. The era when we waited for the bus with one eye on our watches and the other on the weather has passed: an app tells us where the bus is, and when it will arrive. Waiting for a bus that never comes is a thing of the past.
Meanwhile, out in the countryside, agriculture is being revolutionised as software controlled farming takes off. Sensors measuring soil conditions decide when, if and where crops should be fertilised, irrigated and harvested. The tractor and the harvester are driven by computers, with the farmer an obsolete and redundant passenger, present in the vehicle only for compliance reasons – less able to detect a stray human in the path of a combine harvester than the machine itself.
IoT sensors can – or soon will – measure just about everything that can be measured: speed, acceleration, distance, temperature, pressure, light, humidity, proximity, chemistry; for every adjective, a sensor.
Needless to say, the IoT is one of the single greatest contributors to the data explosion, with deep and wide reaching implications for storage infrastructure. All of those sensors, at ‘the edge’ – far from the data center – creating vast and (of course) “exponentially” growing volumes of data. As Cisco blogger Tim Stack put it ‘staggering, to the point of appearing fantastical’. 5 quintillion bytes of data produced every day from knocking on 30bn devices.
Key reasons IoT data storage will be software defined – and one big indicator as to why you should consider SUSE Enterprise Storage.
- Data volumes make traditional ‘big iron’ approaches unaffordable. If you carry on down that path, you’re going to need something a bit stronger than an xlsx spreadsheet to run your spending projections. In a few years’ time, a spreadsheet won’t be able to get enough digits into the single cell that represents the total.
- Sensors don’t sleep. You’re going to need a system that can scale out without a “forklift” interruption every few minutes. The capacity to add storage on-demand without switching off applications.
- AI and ML driven analytics access of data. All that data is going to be used for making decisions, and not all of those decisions will be made by humans – many will be human+ augmented decisions. Make it easy and convenient by having data in a single repository for Object, Block and File.
- Linux: the dominant IoT OS. Linux is the most used OS for edge nodes and gateways, and in the data center where analysis takes place. You might want to consider how these technologies are going to converge.
Storage professionals have some big decisions that they must make. The old approach of adding array after array of storage from the big name providers in an age of exploding data volumes is unlikely to be a sustainable or affordable strategy. When “hyperscalers” like Amazon, Facebook and Google – with their epic combined buying power – are choosing to use open source software-defined storage and run it on commodity hardware, it’s clear the long-term direction the market will take.
When your systems need to be “always on” because your operations run 24/7/365, and your AI never sleeps, downtime for forklift upgrades is not an option. And, if you’re going to be scaling your data because of IoT, you’re likely to see more and more use of open source technology – and over time, you’re going to want these technologies to play nicely together.
Added together, it’s a compelling case for using SUSE Enterprise Storage. Reduce your costs by running on commodity hardware. Avoid forklift upgrades with technology that can scale online into the Exabytes. Unify your file, block and object data. And provide high bandwidth access to your AI/ML applications and get ready for the IoT future.
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