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IoT to impact data centres, says Gartner

IoT to impact data centres, says Gartner 

That means that the enterprise will need to contend with significantly more complexity than ever before. Gartner recently published a report entitled “The Impact of the Internet of Things on Data Centers.” Joe Skorupa, VP distinguished analyst, Gartner, shared the firm’s findings and recommendations.

The report’s authors advised vendors in the data centre market to place a high emphasis on security in their offerings. Moreover, they should develop data centre management applications that will enable the selective management of complex distributed software and hardware environments as a single entity or as discrete units. In addition, Gartner analysts recommended segmenting customer types by level of IoT investment. Vendors in the data centre market should target customers who have made a large investment in IoT technologies.

It will take some time for vendors to implement the advice in the report, Skorupa acknowledged. However, he already sees change taking place. Skorupa explained that some companies have designed their own solutions to the challenges IoT presents. He has also noticed that vendors are taking creative, non-traditional approaches to providing solutions to their customers. The rapid rate of development has created a race to offer the most advanced products in this space. “Everyone is trying to get out front,” Skorupa said.

The complex nature of IoT will create barriers for vendors, Skorupa commented. The analyst noted that there are several issues that vendors should seriously consider. “From a security standpoint, lots of stuff will be out of your control,” Skorupa commented. Another piece of food for thought is data storage. “We’ve had a mindset where you gather data, store it, and analyze it,” he remarked. “Now, you can’t store it all. You have to look at it as it goes past. You have to acknowledge that you can’t process all of it.” Skorupa added that government regulations also play a role in which data companies must keep, and for how long.

Skorupa believes that vendors can overcome these challenges, though. One way of doing this is to turn to external providers. “Lease colo space,” he urged. “Lease space from Amazon. Go to Facebook and ask them to filter social media feeds.” While it might be difficult to admit that your company cannot handle so much data on its own, turning to external sources will alleviate headaches.

The Gartner analyst counseled the enterprise to be patient and flexible. “It’s going to take time,” he said. “There will be failures.” A large part of accepting the changes IoT will bring to the data centre space is a cultural mindset shift. “Enterprises need to have a closer integration of data centre staff,” Skorupa commented. “They need to be aligned with business leaders, and data centres aren’t used to doing that. This will be business unit-led, not IT-led, which is really hard.”

Skorupa urged companies to begin by changing the cultural mindset before implementing new technologies. “Start first with business goals,” he suggested. “What is the business trying to accomplish? How will IT support that?” The second step involves intense teamwork. “The next thing is to get a team together to work on it,” Skorupa remarked. “You can’t do the security piece separately from the network piece. It requires a team approach.” Team leaders should not only possess technical skills but people skills as well.

Setting reasonable expectations is another important part of the changes IoT will bring to data centres. “Things will seem like they’re either moving very fast or very slow,” Skorupa noted. “It will take time.” And some of the most critical changes will involve people, not technology.

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