Will your infrastructure survive the Internet of Things?

If the Internet of Things comes to fruition as the Gartner’s and Cisco’s of the world suggest it might, it could make for some important changes in how we look at and engineer our IT and data infrastructure.

The premise of the Internet of Things is that it will ultimately see organizations connect billions of devices to the internet to monitor and gather data across business systems that will then be harvested and analysed to drive a new level of business efficiencies, productivity and optimization. Data will be collected at device level, moved across IP networks then will require storage and analysis mostly likely at a data center level.

There will ultimately be a cascade of interconnected impacts during this evolution in how we use the Internet for business. The purpose of this blog post is to suggest what some of these maybe and some of the potential implications for the provision and management of IT and business infrastructure.

The more devices that are connected and transmitting data, means that the resulting increases in the quantity and velocity of data could require a step change in how we specify, build and manage data infrastructure. This could lead to pressure on bandwidth, storage, and the capacity and speed of our corporate and IP networks. This means that also we will have to go back to the fundamentals of our physical infrastructure and ensure that they are secured and protected. Specifically, this means going back to first principles and making sure you have appropriate UPS/ power protection for each key piece of data infrastructure including devices, networking and storage.

The safe and reliable storage then analysis of the gathered data could mean that the ability to reliably store large quantities of data becomes business critical. The consequences of this could require a rethinking of data storage including both the physical infrastructure and the software that manages it, along with managing availability, backup and archiving.

The Internet of Things may become a catalyst for reconsidering how we organize ourselves around IT and infrastructure. It may mean we might need to break down some of the existing silos in our organizations to create a new delivery and management model, including a thorough assessment of how our current data infrastructure will cope with a potential significant increase in data flows.

A good place to begin would be to open discussions with your key IT and data infrastructure partners to find out the kinds of devices and data loads that they’re anticipating coming to market and how best to prepare for the opportunities and challenges they bring. Certainly for us at Schneider Electric we’re already working hard to make sure we’re best placed to help our customers (both channel and end customers) take advantage of the business opportunities the Internet of Things will hopefully provide. We are however beginning by suggesting that everyone goes back to look at how they’re protecting key equipment wherever data is created, transmitted or stored. The Internet of Things may change the speed and quantity of data being produced by it won’t change the first principles of data and power protection.

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