The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is set to include 26 billion installed units by 2020, according to new research from Gartner, creating huge challenges for the data-center market.
The rise in the number of units has the potential to shake up the entire data-center market – with implications for customers, technology providers, technologies and sales and marketing models.
By 2020, predicts Gartner, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billon, mostly in services.
“IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed 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 centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges.”
According to analysts, the IoT will give a variety of organizations access to real-time information about operational processes, allowing them to improve efficiency, reduce costs and even introduce new services.
“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 center network, as real-time business processes are at stake,” said Joe Skorupa, vice president at Gartner. “Data center 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 says the main challenges for the IoT are in the areas of security, enterprise, consumer privacy, data, storage management, server technologies and the data-center network.
As regards the data-center network, existing data center WAN links are sized for the moderate-bandwidth requirements generated by human interactions with applications, says Gartner, and the IoT promises to dramatically change these patterns by transferring massive amounts of small message data to the data center for processing, which would dramatically increase inbound data center bandwidth requirements.
“IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed,” said Skorupa. “Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable.”
“The recent trend to centralize applications to reduce costs and increase security is incompatible with the IoT,” he added. “Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur.”
New architecture will present operations staff with new challenges, including managing the environment as a homogeneous entity while being able to monitor and control individual locations.