Data Center Management Challenged by Internet of Things: Gartner

The evolution and continued deployment of the IoT has a potential transformational effect on the data center market and its customers, Gartner found.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

The IoT refers to a network of physical objects containing embedded technology to communicate with their internal states or the external environment. The term encompasses hardware (the things themselves), embedded software, communications services and information services associated with the things.

The evolution and continued deployment of the IoT has a potential transformational effect on the data center market, its customers, technology providers, technologies, and sales and marketing models, the report said.

"IoT deployments will generate large quantities of data that need to be processed and analyzed in real time," Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "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."

Business and data analytics give insights into the business requirements data feed from the IoT environment and will help predict the fluctuations of IoT-enriched data and information as the IoT connects remote assets and provides a data stream between the asset and centralized management systems.

The report noted as consumers utilize apps and devices continue to learn about the user, significant data will be generated. The impact of the IoT on storage is two-pronged in types of data to be stored: personal data (consumer-driven) and big data (enterprise-driven).

"The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data, creates challenges, particularly in the areas of security, data, storage management, servers and the data center network, as real-time business processes are at stake," Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Data center managers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management in these areas to be able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT."

The growth of the IoT will result in a slew of challenges for data centers and the IT professionals who manage them. For example, the increasing digitization and automation of the multitudes of devices deployed across different areas of modern urban environments are set to create new security challenges to many industries.

The report said the magnitude of network connections and data associated with the IoT would accelerate a distributed data center management approach that calls for providers to offer efficient system management platforms.

The impact of the IoT on storage infrastructure is another factor contributing to the increasing demand for more storage capacity, and one that will have to be addressed as this data becomes more prevalent.

Gartner researchers said the current focus must be on storage capacity, as well as whether or not the business can harvest and use IoT data in a cost-effective manner.

"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," Skorupa continued. "Organizations will be forced to aggregate data in multiple distributed mini data centers where initial processing can occur. Relevant data will then be forwarded to a central site for additional processing."