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Trends We’re Watching: Adapting Data Centers to the IoT

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July 9, 2014
By Gartner’s estimate there will be 26 billion “things” pumping data over the Internet by 2020, everything from medical implants and wearable technology to vending machines and HVAC systems.

Not only will these “things” generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time, but they will also increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers and open up new security, capacity and analytics challenges for providers.  And it won’t be just the data at risk. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) will also expose the devices involved – automobiles, HVAC systems and more – to security and other risks.

The challenges are daunting but will no doubt be overcome. The stakes and potential benefits are simply too great for them not to. At the heart of many of these challenges is the anticipated data center topology that must emerge to handle and process these vast amounts of data. According to experts such as Gartner and others, a sort of three-tier hub-and-spoke model of data centers, from small data centers to enormous, will be designed for specific tasks.

The small local data centers will be closest to the IoT action, first and last to interact with the data-producing sensors and where initial processing and analytics happen immediately. With the initial processing complete, these small centers will then feed larger regional data center hubs with the relevant data for further processing before being uploaded to “the mother ship” where the applications and data repositories are. Without such a processing and analytics hierarchy, raw data volumes would surely overwhelm any one system.

Preserving security in such a decentralized infrastructure is, of course, essential and difficult. With all of this data moving around all these different places, George K. Thiruvathukal, Ph.D., professor of computer science at Loyola University Chicago, says companies will have to focus on security and privacy down to the code level, including end-to-end encryption, especially in sensitive environments such as banking and healthcare.

Twenty-billion devices will consume a great deal of bandwidth and will pose network management headaches like nothing we’ve seen before. The complexities of storage scale and management also will certainly be an area of focus as IoT data volumes swell.

As we’re constantly reminded, the future is a lot closer than we think. Transformational trends are happening all the time, all around us. Anticipating and preparing for industry developments large and small that may impact our customers is fundamental to how Peak 10 operates. That’s how we deliver on the promise that we’re in it with you, today and tomorrow.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest