IoT IT Infrastructure Management

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Most enterprise network infrastructure teams already provide connectivity to at least one Internet of Things (IoT) initiative, and many of them play a leading role in planning, implementing, and managing IoT projects. To succeed with these projects, networking teams will need management tools that give them visibility and control over IoT devices and applications. IoT implementations that send high-volume data streams over greater physical distances may benefit from a second architectural approach, known as edge computing. With this strategy, designers enable information processing near where data is being collected, often with the help of intelligent gateways. These devices perform initial filtering and analyses that separate actionable information from raw data feeds and then send higher-value results to central applications and databases. The result is less network traffic and more efficient use of storage capacities.

IoT Infrastructure Architecture:

Sensors

Sensors collect data from the environment or object under measurement and turn it into useful data. Think of the specialized structures in your cell phone that detect the directional pull of gravity. Actuators can also intervene to change the physical conditions that generate the data. The sensing/actuating stage covers everything from legacy industrial devices to robotic camera systems, water-level detectors, air quality sensors, accelerometers, and heart rate monitors.

Computing Infrastructure

This provides the necessary scalable compute power for the solution and manages the dynamic load from millions of sensors. On premises Datacenters, Cloud Datacenters, Hybrid Datacenters ( Cloud + On Premises) are part of this infrastructure. Based on the use cases and customer requirements, a suitable model is proposed. It is advisable to seek an expert guidance to choose the right model. Hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service which blends the advantages of on-premises/private and public cloud services with a proper orchestration between the platforms. Hybrid cloud gives greater control over confidential data, thus wins trust of customers. Thereby, enabling greater flexibility in business and more data deployment options. It bridges Sensing and Compute infrastructure by queuing the data traffic, performing data conversions and even by addressing data packet loss. For IoT, hence choosing the right Middleware is of prime importance.

The data center and cloud

Data that needs more in-depth processing, and where feedback doesn’t have to be immediate, gets forwarded to physical data center or cloud-based systems, where more powerful IT systems can analyze, manage, and securely store the data. Bursting storage sizes caused by data floods from millions of dynamic sensors is the biggest concern in IoT infra. Automatically scalable storages proportional to the increase in number of sensors is the need-of-the-hour. To support this, traditional storage has been transformed into what is called as Software Defined Storage (SDS).

Network and Security

Traditional best practices for both network and security have to be re-looked due to the complexity created by IoT. I would like to highlight on Storage Defined Network (SDN), Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) which are very vital to tackle the nightmare that IoT is creating for the network and security service providers.

Infrastructure Design for M2N & M2M Communication

Devices: Devices – or “things” – themselves can be infrastructure components, whether POS systems, presence sensors or mobile devices.

Edge of Network: LAN/WAN, closets, Ethernet + gPON + Gateways, APs and Beacons provide the edge of network communications protocol to serve devices with sensing, internet signal, and power; these networking systems help customers more efficiently collect and pre-process IoT data.

 Data Center Requirement Considerations for IOT Infrastructure

Data storage management. IoT will generate a lot of data, so data storage and storage management are going to be primary concerns. As the number of sensors grow, so will the amount of IoT data traffic.

Security. Capturing IoT data will raise new security concerns. IoT data is often sensitive and proprietary. Maintaining a direct connection between the IoT device and the data repository is efficient but also risky. There are more opportunities for a security breach.

Big data. Big data analytics will create additional security challenges, mostly due to security complexity. For example, real-time processes will be hampered by data availability requirements, creating  a risk to real-time operations.

Bandwidth. Most data center infrastructures are scaled to handle moderate wide area network (WAN) traffic, such as data, unified communications and applications. IoT is going to flood the pipe. Now the data center network will have to cope with new traffic patterns, accommodating massive amounts of small messages from IoT sensors for processing. This means data centers will  need more inbound bandwidth.

IT Infrastructure Management in a Connected World

When a survey to investigate how the infrastructure requirements of IoT would impact enterprise networks and system administrators was carried out in the US and the UK, 78% of the 400 respondents from the IT domain indicated they had linked their office equipment – “cash registers, vending machines, and badge readers” to their existing networks. Nearly 73% of the respondents maintained they had invested substantially in surveillance and other security systems. With regard to investments in IoT-specific infrastructure and network management systems, 65% of the businesses stated that nothing significant had been done. Seeing the considerable opportunity to improve profits, implement IoT and enhance customer satisfaction and retention, businesses are lining up to realign their infrastructure and be compliant with the requirements of IoT devices.

  • In the healthcare sector, patients wear devices that monitor their vital signs — heart rate or blood pressure – which are communicated to the doctors.
  • In manufacturing, the inclusion of sensors within the ambit of the manufacturing process enables immediate signalling to the central systems when flaws occur. This ensures saving of precious time and money, instant addressing of faults and lowers chances of faulty products being sold.
  • In the utilities segment, electronic smart metres and sensors highlight patterns in power consumption, detect outages, and enable planning for efficient power generation.
  • Transport companies also use such IoT devices to keep track of operational expenses, regulate their fleets and drivers.

While the IoT devices have contributed to the changing IT landscape, they have been equally instrumental in making organizations willing to embrace what is new. The opportunities are aplenty and the challenges are immense.

MeenaG Staff

Internet of Things Enthusiast

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