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The IoT’s impact on storage

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The internet of things will have a huge impact on storage – the sheer volume of data, the radically different types of data created, and the storage needed, from flash to object to cloud

One thing is clear thing about the impact of the internet of things (IoT) on storage – there can be no single method to deal with the data generated by things, not least because there is such a wide variety of data generators and data types.

It is also clear that data volumes are large and growing, that the datacentre needs to adapt to deal with them, and that cloud-based storage may be one solution, but not the only one.

And security is just one of the many other challenges that the IoT presents.

For those planning storage for an IoT project, the first task is to determine the types of data the project will generate.

IoT data can broadly be divided into two extreme types. At one end of the spectrum are the likes of large audio-visual files, such as those generated by surveillance cameras, while at the other are the host of tiny log files generated by environmental sensors and the like.

The I/O profiles of each data type, in terms of reading and writing, differ so much that it it is not realistic to design a one-size-fits-all IoT storage architecture if the data generated includes both types.

IoT applications

Examples of IoT diversity are not hard to find. A leading application is the smart city, which contains a range of functions, such as environment monitoring, video surveillance and traffic management, such as the one in Milton Keynes, UK, which incorporates applications such as smart drones and has hosted driverless car tests.

Elsewhere, using IoT-derived data, Ericsson’s Maritime ICT Cloud automates the process of manually updating traffic, cargo, port, weather and safety information for shipping companies. It connects vessels at sea with shore-based operations, maintenance service providers, customer support centres, fleet/transportation partners, port operations and authorities.

Meanwhile, German car manufacturer Daimler uses IoT data to automate safety procedures when its vehicles are on the move. For example, Daimler trucks are fitted with proximity control, stop-and-go assist, emergency brake assist, lane-keeping assist and 3D maps to help drivers maintain safe distances from other vehicles. The firm has also developed stereo cameras and radar sensors to help improve driver response times.

Storage implications

The IoT brings multiple implications for datacentre and storage design. First, it will be critical to get the data off devices, which mostly contain little internal storage, and onto a secured, backed-up storage system.

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