How Data Centers Will Evolve To Become Smarter As IoT Spreads Its Wings

Shantanu is a seasoned IT professional with more than 23 years of solid experience in Digital and Cloud CoE and Parctice management, Consulting, Delivery Leadership, Presales, Automation and Innovation. In his current role, Shantanu focuses on enhancing the Digital footprint and revenue share of Oracle Competency through IoT, Blockchain and other cutting edge solutions on Oracle Cloud.

A Paradigm Shift Of Data Center Architecture
There has been an immense change in the technology topography in last few years and that is not only convincing us to change the way we do business but also influencing our lifestyle. Right from our mobile phones to home appliances and cars, everything is getting smarter by the day with the introduction of Internet of Things (IoT). These IoT enabled devices simply capture a continuous stream of data from its surroundings and push it to the backend applications or ERP systems so that appropriate actions can be performed based on this input.

The major advantage of IoT based Data capture is that we can understand a problem as soon as they occur and sometimes even before that, based on the pattern of data and that helps us in addressing the issue ahead of time. The challenge that comes associated with this is, the Data Centers handling such massive amount of data, would require a major shift in their model to deal with IoT based transactions.

Data Centers are integral part of the Information Technology architecture. With the implementation of IoT

At present, Data Centers are looked as a source of data repository and the applications connected to them, fetch the required information as needed. With the advent of IoT enabled devices, the Data Centers will be working like a Hub in the middle of a two way data highway where they will manage both the huge inflow and outflow of data.

As per IDC, the Worldwide Technology Spending on the Internet of Things would reach $1.7 Trillion by 2022 and by 2025, the number of connected devices may shoot up to 80 billion worldwide. To manage this enormous pool of data, Data Centers would need a paradigm shift in their architecture.

How AI Can Play A Big Role In This Context
With the new architecture where the Data Centers are expected to handle both massive upstream and down-stream data, two distinct problems will arise:
• Technical challenge to handle this huge data inflow
• Significantly high cost to the Organizations, who are subscribed to cloud platforms and are charged based on the volume of data processed and consumed

It is virtually impossible to store the massive amount of data which the IoT devices will continually produce. Therefore, it is important to have a smart algorithm in place even before the data reaches to Data Centers to filter out the noisy data which do not play a role in decision making process. GE's Edge Computing Framework does exactly that.

The Edge Computing Framework creates a layer be-tween the data sources (IoT devices) and the Data Centers, does an analysis of the mined data and only allows the data, which is required for decision making process of downstream systems, to reach Data Centers. This way, it is ensured that Organizations use their Data Center infrastructure only for processing the required data despite of capturing a huge data volume through the connected IoT devices.

For an example, an offshore oil rig would have around 25,000-30,000 sensors and will measure numerous ambient conditions like temperature, pressure, humidity, water saturation etc. while performing drilling. Only a small share of this data is actually used for analysis. The Complex Event Processing (CEP) capability of Edge framework can eliminate redundant data and send only useful information to Data Center and Cloud.

Another area where AI can bring efficiency in Data Center operations, is, managing activities like patching, monitoring and upgrading. Recent launch of Oracle's Autonomous Databases where all these activities can be performed with zero human touch, shows that most of these routine activities in future will not require human intervention at all.

What Are The Challenges To Accomplish The Change
It will require a significant effort and specialized skills to accomplish this change. First and foremost, Security and Privacy will be a major concern while we are dealing with humongous amount of data from IoT devices. With high number of devices and points of capture, the vulnerability increases and it becomes easier for the hackers to penetrate.

The huge network bandwidth required to handle such data would entail multiple technology upgrades. It would probably also require to create a number of interim data centers to handle the subsets of data separately before they reach main data centers and that would be possible only with a complete refurbishment of the infrastructure.

Overall, it would require a seamless management of network, storage, security, reliability with energy requirement and physical space at a much larger scale.

What Can We Expect In Future
Data Centers are integral part of the Information Technology architecture. With the implementation of IoT, the traditional model of Data Centers may not work for long but it does not mean that they would be phased out. Rather, there will be a major overhaul to the current architecture to make them capable of handling huge amount of upstream and downstream data. This will create a new coexistence model with the technologies like IoT and Big Data and help enriching our lives.

The good news is, despite heavy deployment of automation, there will be significant jobs that will be created in the global market to achieve this goal.