Preparing for 'The Internet of Things'

While the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) may sound like an exciting approaching future where everything is blissfully connected, it may be a bad dream for infrastructure and operations managers struggling to keep their data centres relevant.

The IoT is just one of the unstoppable trends impacting CIOs and enterprises, along with the cloud, mobility social networking and Big Data. Other potentially disruptive technologies include software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined storage, network function virtualisation, plus extreme low-energy processors and webscale-integrated infrastructure.

All of these demand an overhaul of past data centre infrastructure, design and management practices. If CIOs are not already involved in modernising their data centre, they may already be falling behind their competitors.

The IoT is part of the impending 'big picture' disruption for IT and it's forecast to be a very powerful transformative influence for society overall and for most industries. It can mean many things, from web-connected refrigerators, to in-built GPS systems for motor vehicles and huge driverless mining trucks piloted from thousands of kilometres away. Huge, driveless, automated haul trucks, for example, are already being used by Rio Tinto in the Western Australian mining industry.

Research house Gartner defines IoT as " the network of dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to sense or interact with their internal state or external environment. The IoT comprises an ecosystem that includes things, communication, applications and data analysis".

Gartner forecasts that the top three industry verticals being hit by the IoT will be manufacturing, utilities and transportation, which, by 2015, will have 736 million connected things being used. By 2015, Gartner says the consumer sector will have 2.9 billion connected things, increasing to 13 billion by 2020. They believe the automotive sector will show the highest IoT growth rate (96%) by 2015.

No enterprise can dodge the IoT bullet train and Gartner declares that business has no choice but to pursue it just like they've done with the consumerisation of IT. They have some advice for IT departments on how data centres need to adapt to today's unstoppable trends, like IoT.

  • Enterprises now need to think beyond traditional data centre models around build, lease or refurbishment to options such as colocation or outsourcing.
  • There needs to be a more holistic approach to data centre modernisation, encompassing the overall facility, which has not been a priority for too many businesses.
  • Enterprises need to plan and implement a data centre modernisation strategy whether that involves building and populating a new data centre, modernising an existing one or sourcing externally. They should focus on sourcing data centre capacity, follow best practices in building a new data centre, and revamp their data centre infrastructure management.

While today's technology users - consumers and employees - expect user-friendliness and simplicity when interacting with business, the back end is becoming ever more complicated and the IoT will only makes things worse. CIOs must deal with this conundrum and many are finding that the best strategy is to partner with an experienced external service provider, like Logicalis. The DIY approach has been proven to be dangerous.

IDC forecasts that by 1919, most organisations will stop managing their own infrastructure: "They will make greater use of on-premise and hosted managed services for their existing IT assets, and turn to dedicated and shared cloud offerings in service provider data centres for new services. This will result in the consolidation and retirement of some existing internal datacenters, particularly at the low end. At the same time, service providers will continue their race to build, remodel, and acquire data centres to meet the growing demand for capacity."

The goal for modernising data centre infrastructure to have it thrive in the looming IoT environment, is to transition it from the traditional, consolidated and virtualised environment which is already struggling to cope. Logicalis has strategies to develop data centres that are efficient, automated and service oriented. The end result can be reduced management complexity, cost reduction and growth.

It is all too easy to succumb to the uncertainty and fear of historic IT trends such as the IoT, but there is experienced, professional help available to ensure that enterprises can capitalise on these trends, rather than be intimidated by them.




Tags CIO, Digital Transformation, Cloud, Data Centre, Data Centre transformation, data centres, Gartner, IoE, SDN, internet of things, IoT


Align your business strategies with the business goals