IT Trends | Research

What the 26 Billion-Thing Internet of Things Portends for IT

The rapid growth of interconnected devices making up the Internet of Things will wreak havoc on data security, storage, servers, networks and end user privacy, according to a new report.

There will be 26 billion "things" making up the Internet of Things within six years, according to a report released by Gartner. The implications for IT are profound — in particular for data center operations.

"IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed," said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "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. Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data will then be forwarded to a central site for additional processing."

He added that the effects will impact ore than just centralized applications. "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," he said. "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."

Significant implications noted in the report included:

  • Given the volume of data, comprehensive backups "will present potentially insoluble governance issues, such as network bandwidth and remote storage bandwidth, and capacity to back up all raw data is likely to be unaffordable";
  • This, in turn, will lead to the need for automated selective backups;
  • Availability requirements will continue to grow even as the IoT builds, "putting real-time business processes and, potentially, personal safety at risk";
  • The potential for breaches of individual privacy will increase.

Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner, said the advent of the Internet of Things will push IT further into virtualization and the cloud.

"Data center operations and providers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management platforms that can include a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) 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. Already in the data center planning phase, throughput models derived from statistical capacity management platforms or infrastructure capacity toolkits will include business applications and associated data streams. Those comprehensive scenarios will impact design and architecture changes by moving toward virtualization, as well as cloud services. This will reduce the complexity and boost on-demand capacity to deliver reliability and business continuity."

Further details can be found i the full report, The Impact of the Internet of Things on Data Centers, which runs $195. The report will also be discussed at Gartner's upcoming Infrastructure, Operations and Data Center Summit 2014, which will be held May 21–22 in Sydney, Australia.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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