BTS of IIoT Revolution: The Storage Technology that Drives it
A strong school of thought pertaining to the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) revolution is that it’ll happen at the edge and not in the cloud. But what kind of servers and storage technology really supports the large volumes of big data that are a necessary part of the lifecycle of daily IIoT processes?
In this article, we go Behind the Scenes (BTS), beyond the wonders and applications that IIoT brings with it, to take a look at the servers and storage technology that empowers the IIoT revolution.
Before we dive into the depths of storage technology and hardware, for the sake of context, let’s develop a clear idea of the data volumes generated by IoT.
IIoT Big Data: Expected to Grow More Than 75 ZBs by 2025
According to IDCs recent forecast, the number of connected devices (IoT) is expected to grow to 41.6 billion by 2025 and consequently generate approximately 79.4 zettabytes (ZBs) of data.
In the same report, they’ve explored “where the growth is coming from”. According to their analysis, the industrial and automotive category is expected to see the fastest data growth rates over the forecast period with a CAGR of 60%.
Safe to say, we’re at the verge of a “smart bubble” burst. Once the bubble bursts, we’ll see a lot more smart technology everywhere; which in turn will generate an ocean of big data.
Let’s not forget the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the equation. AI technology compliments IIoT and facilitates a wide array of use-cases that are currently being experimented on or perfected in manufacturing, healthcare, high tech and several other industries. The addition of AI in IIoT, although great, leads to the generation of large data lakes.
However, that’s not what I’ll be discussing in this article. To read more about the data lakes generated by the combination of AI and IoT, I recommend reading this article: AI & IoT are Great but What About the Resulting Data Lakes?
Now that we’ve looked at the figures related to the volume of data generated by IoT and IIoT, let’s talk about the technology that is capable of storing, processing and managing it.
Hyperconverged Infrastructures (HCI) – Storage Technology of Tomorrow Available Today
Mostly, data generated by sensors, actuators and other sources within IIoT systems is unstructured data. Therefore, the most suited purpose-built solutions for IIoT applications would be scalable NAS appliances. However, HCI appliances offer the flexibility and adaptability that the unpredictable future that IIoT revolution promises.
What’s wrong with purpose-built scalable NAS appliances?
In a word: nothing. Their only limitation is that they’re built for file-level workloads. Therefore the best choice for continuously growing unstructured volumes, NAS appliances are the best choice to make.
However will IIoT remain restricted to unstructured data generation only. We’re on the verge of a revolution; sensors are evolving; data science and data analytics is evolving. Currently, to the point of storage, utilization and application of IIoT data, verily scalable enterprise NAS appliances are a good choice to make; but they’re not the future-proof choice to make.
Is the utilization of HCI appliances instead of NAS appliances a kin to fat provisioning or thick provisioning in anticipation of future workloads? No, it’s not because HCI appliances facilitate numerous applications and thus are more generally usable than NAS appliances.
In a way, HCI appliances are a better fit than NAS appliances in most cases because of how they can be used. However, a point to note here is that how effectively you can utilize your HCI appliances depends on the software or storage OS used to manage your virtual workloads.
What makes HCI appliances clearly the better choice of storage to drive the IIoT revolution?
Hypervisors such as VMware and Hyper-V deployed on HCI appliances deliver true flexibility for users to facilitate NAS, SAN and other workloads. When it comes to facilitating “edge computing”, HCI appliances have definitely got the science down to a T.
To explore the relation of edge computing and HCI appliances, I found this blog to be quite useful: link.
Virtual storage management solutions, available from a variety of third party vendors, enable users to provision resources, manage them effectively and seamlessly support workloads such as the ones generated by IoT and IIoT systems.
Furthermore, virtual resources are easy to scale, manage, deploy and provision. When compared to NAS appliances that require an ample amount of time to scale; especially in terms of hardware scalability, the ability to virtualize and scale are clearly the better choices.
Similarly, vendors such as Nutanix, HPE, StoneFly, Dell offers HCI solutions that are compatible with most mainstream servers and are very easy to manage. This makes them the better choice and the clear contenders in driving the IIoT revolution.
Speaking of virtualization and HCI appliances, let’s not forget the role of other technologies in paving the future of storage technology that’s fit for IoT, IIoT and other use-cases. In conjunction with HCI appliances, hardware agnostic and software-defined technologies will definitely play a vital role and are definitely a good fit for organizations looking into building a future-proof data center. For more information on the subject, I recommend reading this blog: Future-Proofing Your Data Storage
IIoT delivers upon the dream of a smart and connected industrial world. The applications are so great that we tend to forget about the infrastructure that empowers all the demanding IIoT workloads behind the scenes.
Lest we forget without the right storage technology to run these workloads, IIoT won’t be able to deliver up on the dream of a connected and efficient world that the IIoT revolution aims for. To make it all happen, decision makers and the industry leaders in IIoT need to give special attention to the storage technology that turns the cogs and makes the dream come true
This article was written by K. M. Umair, the Team Lead for the Content Writing Department at StoneFly, Inc. a veteran enterprise data storage and backup & Disaster Recovery (DR) solution provider. Umair has been writing for the technology niche for years with a focus on technology integrated in data driven organizations.