The enterprise is quickly growing accustomed to deploying new resources in software rather than hardware, but with the anticipated scale of the IoT making its presence known, we may very well have to return to some old-school infrastructure development.
Already, organizations are looking at ways to augment legacy storage infrastructure for the expected deluge of data coming their way. According to 451 Research, nearly a third of enterprises are planning to expand storage capacity in the coming year (registration required), followed closely by storage networking and processing capability. And while the cloud is expected to share some of this load, at the moment more than half of enterprises are opting to keep their IoT data in on-premises facilities, and nearly 60 percent prefer to keep analytics in-house as well.
While many organizations undoubtedly feel the IoT load is manageable so far, that view is likely to change as the number of connected devices expands from thousands to millions to billions. Finding ways to consolidate all of these data feeds onto a reasonable hardware footprint will be paramount. A company called ClearBlade says it has a solution with new software that allows a single Oracle bare metal server to handle the data flows from up to 1 million edge devices. The system utilizes a tiered architecture between the cloud and the edge to enable broad transparency and low-latency device communication, which can be used to support IoT infrastructure in factories, cities and supply chains.
Intel, meanwhile, is focused not so much on hitting a particular level of scale but making sure it can be done quickly and securely. The company just released a new automated service called Intel Secure Device on Board (Intel SDO) that allows devices to discover the enterprise IoT platform at power-on. The system features a one-to-many design, meaning it can work with just about any device or IoT architecture without requiring substantial up-front loading or provisioning. It also incorporates the Enhanced Privacy ID (EPID) solution for autonomous authentication and encryption.
Still other platform developers are using appliances as a means to scale IoT infrastructure. Hitachi recently took the wraps off of the Hitachi IoT Appliance, which is powered by the company’s Lumada IoT platform. Hitachi says it is aiming for a full turnkey solution that combines hyperconverged infrastructure and microservices in a plug-and-play, pre-validated solution that can be up and running within an hour. At the same time, the Lumada software incorporates a range of data blending and orchestration functions, as well as artificial intelligence and advanced analytics.
IoT infrastructure is likely to go through several permutations before it settles into the enterprise mainstream. Hardware will play a vital role in this evolution, but it will only be as good as the software it contains and the architectures that the enterprise chooses to implement.
For this reason, it seems likely that the physical layer of IoT infrastructure will be commoditized in order to support advanced software-driven architectures and broad resource pooling and allocation. After all, once the IoT is up and running, the tolerance for down time will be extremely low, particularly for routing maintenance and upgrades.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.