More and more of our world today runs on the free flow of data whether it’s through smartphones, chips, sensors or cloud computing.
The advent of the Internet of Things [IoT], in which everyday objects have network connectivity allowing them to send and receive data, means we are witnessing the explosion of a network that is growing at an incredible pace. Gartner says 6.4 billion connected 'things' will be in use worldwide by the end of 2016. Cisco thinks that figure will rise to an extraordinary 50 billion by 2020.
Whatever the actual numbers, the fact is more and more data is being created as the IoT becomes increasingly ubiquitous. This has the potential to open up virtually endless opportunities and connections but with that also comes many challenges.
Storing and analysing petabytes of data
With billions of devices being connected there are issues around the massive amounts of data that all these devices produce. How will companies be able to store, track, analyse and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated?
By 2020 the average business will have to manage fifty times more data than it does today and be able to analyse that data quickly in order to make timely decisisions. For many organisations it is becoming too expensive to store that data on premise so they are increasingly moving that data to the cloud. This is an extremely cost effective solution as organisations only pay for what they use. Yet for many organisations the sheer volume of data and the fact it is transactional, or continually changing, makes moving it anywhere, let alone to the cloud near impossible.
During migration the data still has to be fully utilised so businesses can continue operating as normal. Active Transactional Data Replication technology makes this possible by giving businesses consistent continuous connectivity to data as it changes wherever that data is located with no downtime and no disruption. By moving data to the cloud businesses are able to take advantage of the many cloud native analytics tools so they can understand the insights being generated by the IoT.
The value of this cannot be disputed. If there are two businesses that are marketing and selling identical products or services and one has more insight into its customers’ behaviour—or even if two share the same insights but one gets that information a day sooner—that business has a much higher chance of success.
Providing data security and privacy
Another challenge with the IoT is ensuring information stays secure as billions of devices connect together. There are also issues around privacy and data sharing. Concerns in this area are only going to escalate when we look at the billions of devices, from your toaster to your car, that are going to be connected.
IBM Big Replicate uses Active Transactional Data Replication technology to keep sensitive data where it belongs by ensuring data and underlying metadata are selectively replicated. By eliminating the need for every data node in every data center to communicate with each other, as well as the fact only IBM servers are exposed through the firewall, Active Transactional Data Replication technology also dramatically reduces vulnerability to hackers.
Guaranteeing zero latency and zero downtime
Yet for the IoT to have truly arrived no downtime and no disruption must be guaranteed. With the IoT in charge of a pacemakers, cars and the functioning of cities, system failure is not an option. Again, Active Transactional Data Replication is vital as it enables data to be ingested and analysed immediately in parallel across multiple locations so even if there is a failure in one part of the system, the rest of the system will still function as normal.
Making the world better
From monitoring our health, to changing the way we undertake everyday tasks such as driving and cooking, to heating our homes more efficiently, it is clear the IoT is set to irrevocably change the way we work and live.
In my opinion Active Transactional Data Replication is the technology that needs to underpin the IoT to get us there.
David Richards, co-founder, president and chief executive of WANdisco
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