Billions of devices are expected to plug into the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next few years and data centers will be faced with a choice: upgrade or fall behind.
International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that between 2014 and 2017, IoT workloads will increase by approximately 750 percent. While the billions of sensors and smart devices that will soon comprise the IoT are generating all the buzz – 26 billion devices by 2020 according to Gartner -- it's data centers that will be charged with keeping it together.
In short, expect an IoT-fueled data center boom.
"Equal, or even greater, investments in the IoT platform services residing in the datacenter will be instrumental in delivering the IoT promise of anytime, anywhere, anyhow connectivity and context," said Rick Villars, vice president of IDC's Datacenter and Cloud research practice, in a statement. He also argues for holistic approach to data center design, instead of focusing strictly on compute and storage.
"Given the number of devices connected and the amount of data generated, businesses must focus on their IoT service platform requirements at the level of the datacenter itself, not just the individual servers or storage devices," continued Villars.
IoT's growth is also expected to accelerate the move to cloud-oriented infrastructures for enterprises, IDC said. One IT giant is already banking on it.
IBM announced last month that the IT systems and services provider is setting aside $3 billion for IoT investments over the next four years. Big Blue also launched IBM IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries analytics service and the Cloud Foundry-based IBM Bluemix IoT Zone for developers in support of the endeavor.
Adapting to IoT-enabled workloads will also have an effect on how IT systems and services are deployed within data centers.
IDC said that IoT will spur the deployment of new server and storage capacity at the edge. Hyperscale data centers that can crunch IoT analytics data will emerge as "a major component of most IoT service offerings by 2019," added the research firm.
Enterprise and service providers will shoulder most of the burden of providing IoT services, added IDC. Finally, IoT technologies will be turned inward by data center operators to improve their IT monitoring and management capabilities, giving rise to a new generation of smart data centers.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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