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Gartner: How Will 26B IoT Units Affect Data Centers in 2020?

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded in the last decade; in 2008 the number of devices connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people living on earth. Now, Gartner predicts the number of devices will reach 26 billion by 2020, with others predicting even higher installation numbers by that time. In a new report the research group has begun discussing the eventual challenges that will need to be faced because of IoT, particularly by the data center.

"IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time," says Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner. "Processing large quantities of IoT data in real time will increase as a proportion of workloads of data centers, leaving providers facing new security, capacity and analytics challenges."

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The challenges that Gartner points as potential obstacles are:

  • Security -- as IoT spreads across different locations, specific challenges will arise associated to those specific locales.
  • Enterprise -- when more devices are brought into the workplace, availability of network resources will need to stay high and as a result, will be far more relied upon.
  • Consumer privacy -- with more IoT devices per person, chances that more personal data end up on said devices will grow exponentially.
  • Data -- IoT devices and their associated apps will continue to collect more information about users as their usage grows.
  • Storage management -- storage capacity will have to continue to grow as each user continues to store data, which in turn can lead to needing higher capacity storage in the data center.
  • Server technologies -- the growth of IoT will impact the server market, especially in key industries where the end product of IoT, the data, adds significant value.
  • Data center network -- dramatic increases in network traffic due to incoming "small messages" from IoT devices will hit data center networks designed for moderate rates of traffic.

Gartner sees future IoT data as having two categories: user generated data and enterprise generated data. Individual device users are already generating massive amounts of data on their own and this will only continue to grow. IoT devices, personal included, will also increasingly provide analytics data for companies, necessitating ways of organizing and analyzing all this data.

According to Joe Skorupa, vice president and analyst at Gartner, "IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed. Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable."

Gartner believes storage capacity will become a central issue as data centers adapt. Additionally, inbound bandwidth will come under a lot of stress from the billions of small messages sent from IoT devices, requiring a reworking of wide area network (WAN) links.

As we all know, with great amounts of data comes great responsibility. The challenges of BYOD security have, in some ways, been a warm up for what's to come for the enterprise with the rise of IoT. Challenges presented by big data combined with changing consumer expectations will create complex security and privacy challenges for data centers.

The entire report is available through Gartner for $195.00.