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IoT drives new data centre architectures

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Kathy Gibson reports from Infracom 2016 – The digital world is impacting on the data centre, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is making infrastructure decisions more complex.
Sean Laval, technical head: IoT at Comsol, describes the IoT as the phenomenon where physical objects are seamlessly integrated into information networking, and where they can become active participants in the business process.
The combination of industrial devices and consumer devices is generating a huge amount of data, Laval points out.
And IoT is growing at a tremendous rate, he says. The cloud has opened up access to shared data storage infrastructure, and there is a rash of devices that are now inexpensive to deploy.
But there is still some confusion in the market as to what makes up a machine to machine (M2M) network and the IoT.
In M2M, Laval explains, data is siloed within industry verticals and tends to be a one-to-one communication stream. In the IoT, however, data can be shared across industry verticals.
This has an effect on how data centres are utilised, and data centre operators will have to learn to manage multi-site infrastructure as a homogenous environment.
“This has a profound impact on how people are deploying data centres,” Laval says. “Edge processing techniques are more relevant, so data centres will be deployed closer to where the information is generated.
“This will reduce latency and will also reduce total upstream costs to the central data centre.”
He calls this a hybrid data deployment model that is starting to take shape.
And it’s given rise to the need for a micro data centre market – an area that is expected to grow by almost 30% a year.
IoT connectivity, on the other hand, will be driven by high-speed data, and low-power wireless connectivity. This is because IoT devices tend not to send huge pieces of data – in fact, 86% of M2M/IoT devices consume less the 3Mb per month.
This has prompted the emergence of a new breed of connectivity protocol – the lower power, wide area (LPWA) network.
Laval explains that this long-range, low-power connectivity offers low data rates, long range communications, long battery life, low connectivity cost, scalable network capacity, simple deployment of sensors and standardised protocols.
Some examples of where this technology could be used include those where many devices are distributed widely, they are cost-sensitive and low in power consumption. They are not easily accessible and so require long battery life.