Internet of things (IoT) is actually not a new revolution; the idea was in existence back in ‘90s although its implementation wasn’t attempted for quite a while – one of the main reasons for this is the unavailability of the technologies required for the purpose. For instance, in order to make IoT a reality, we would have needed (and still do) sensors on all products and then a way for these products to communicate among each other. Also, communication technology also had to be advanced for these devices to communicate fast enough – all of these advancements happened only recently.
Internet of things is an avant-garde approach that brings communication capacities to normal “things” you have in your home and office, allowing data sharing with other similar devices, such as smartphones or computers. Imagine the enormous flow of chunks of data these devices are bringing. This easily qualifies as big data, and should be analyzed for deep insights, which could be a game-changing strategy for any organization.
Evolution of data storage
In the 1980s and ‘90s, information technology industry was in its budding stage. Data was relatively non-existent compared to today’s standards, and it was mainly tied to transactions and relational databases. Slow growth of volume of data, increasing number of I/O operations, and emergence of Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) technologies were part of this era.
You need to also know the difference between unstructured and structured data. While relational databases mainly contributed to structured data in the world, unstructured data was provided by some newbie applications, such as Microsoft Office. NAS was implemented to tackle this slow rate of increase in the volume of data out there.
Now, after the turn of the century, we’re witnessing the advent of unstructured data growth, mainly in the form of big data. Imagine the number of social networks, consumer review sites, directories, local listings, etc., wherein consumers can make their contributions at a great scale. Millions and millions of consumers have direct access to the web today. This paved way to a sudden and sharp rise in the amount of data available across the globe.
In an IDC study conducted recently, this decade will see a 50 times rise in data. This huge rise is primarily due to Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.—the web services that allow regular people to interact and share anything with anyone in the world.
A major part of the next few years’ data will be played by the revolution that we have been talking about—the internet of things. Cisco’s recent study reveals that IoT will have a connected-device space of over 50 billion devices by the end of the decade.
Object storage, the norm for future storage?
Object storage is one of the three major types of storage architectures out there—the other two being file storage and block storage. Block storage is used to store data in specific-sized blocks, and file storage makes use of file systems to store data. Object storage on the other hand perceives data as disparate objects, and it has certain critical advantages to tackle the huge volume growth that is expected—scalability, uniformity, secure multi-tenancy, and durability. You may know about the Amazon AWS S3 platform that stores data in the form of objects.
Some of the key characteristics of object storage:
High scalability: Huge volume growth in unstructured data increases the performance of object storage systems. Failures in object storage systems are minimized by its horizontal scalability model.
Redundancy and high availability: In the object storage paradigm, data has high level of redundancy (3N). This means three times the infrastructure needed for maintaining storage is present in the domain of object storage (or a minimum of 2 redundant servers). This keeps failures minimum and data availability high.
Efficient Metadata Management: Metadata decentralization is a key aspect of object storage. This ensures that several terabytes of metadata can be managed without performance issues.
High efficiency: Object storage infrastructure provides more efficiency than traditional storage systems which may be widely popular today.
Secure multi-tenancy: Security is one of the major requirements of a file storage system. In case of object storage systems, the security is practically guaranteed in all sorts of file sharing across a large number of accounts. The secure multi-tenancy ensures that the data is accessible securely to all sorts of accounts.
In the object storage domain, there are many multi-billion-dollar players. Some examples include Dell, DDN, NetApp, etc. They have built object storage infrastructure of great scale which can cater to the needs of millions of customers. Most of these products provide out of the box capacity of several terabytes. With object storage technology on the rise, IoT data will be safely stored in the future.
What’s With Note: Lenin VJ Nair is an author and technology enthusiast, acting as assistant manager of marketing at MSys Technologies, a global organization providing technology services in the areas such as storage, cloud computing, big data analytics, internet of things, DevOps, and virtualization. You can email Lenin at email@example.com.