How the World of Connected Things is Changing Cloud Services Delivery


I recently led a session at the latest Software-Defined Enterprise Conference and Expo (SDxE) where we discussed how connected “things” are going to reshape our business, the industry, and our lives. When I asked the people in that full room how many had more than two devices that could connect into the cloud, pretty much every hand went up.

We’re living in a truly interconnected world. One that continues to generate more data, find more ways to give analog systems a digital heartbeat, and one that shapes lives using new technologies.

A recent Cisco Visual Networking Index report indicated that smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2021. In 2016, PCs accounted for 46 percent of total IP traffic, but by 2021 PCs will account for only 25 percent of traffic. Smartphones will account for 33 percent of total IP traffic in 2021, up from 13 percent in 2016. PC-originated traffic will grow at a CAGR of 10 percent, while TVs, tablets, smartphones, and Machine-to- Machine (M2M) modules will have traffic growth rates of 21 percent, 29 percent, 49 percent, and 49 percent, respectively.

Cloud services are accelerated in part by the unprecedented amounts of data being generated by not only people, but also machines and things. And, not just generated, but stored as well. The latest Cisco GCI report estimates that 600 ZB will be generated by all people, machines, and things by 2020, up from 145 ZB generated in 2015. And, by 2020, data center storage installed capacity will grow to 1.8 ZB, up from 382 EB in 2015, nearly a 5-fold growth.

When it comes to IoT, there’s no slowdown in adoption. Cisco’s report indicates that within the enterprise segment, database/analytics and IoT will be the fastest growing applications, with 22 percent CAGR from 2015 to 2020, or 2.7-fold growth. Growth in machine-to-machine connections and applications is also driving new data analytics needs. When it comes to connected things, we have to remember that IoT applications have very different characteristics. In some cases, application analytics and management can occur at the edge device level whereas for others it is more appropriately handled centrally, typically hosted in the cloud.

Cloud will evolve to support the influx of connected things

It’s not just how many new things are connected into the cloud. We must also remember the data that these devices or services are creating. Cloud services are already adapting to support a much more distributed organization; with better capabilities to support users, their devices, and their most critical services. Consider the following.

  • The edge is growing and helping IoT initiatives. A recent MarketsAndMarkets report indicated that CDN vendors help the organizations in efficiently delivering content to their end users with better QoE and QoS. CDN also facilitates organizations to store their contents near its target users and get it secured from the attacks like DDoS. The report indicated the sheer size of the potential market, where this segment is expected to grow from $4.95 billion in 2015 to $15.73 billion in 2020. With more data being created, organizations are working hard to find ways they can deliver this information to their consumers and users. This shift in data consumption has changed the way we utilize data center technologies and delivery critical data points.
  • Cloud is elastic – but we have to understand our use-cases and adopt them properly. There are so many powerful use-cases and technologies we can leverage within the cloud already. WANOP, SD-WAN, CDNs, hybrid cloud, and other solutions are allowing us to connect faster and leverage our devices efficiently. When working with end-users, make sure you know which type of services you require. For example, in some cases, you might need a hyperscale data center platform rather than a public cloud. In some cases, you still need granular control over the proximity of data to the remote application. This is where you need to decide between public cloud options and those of hyperscale providers. There’s no right or wrong here – just the right use-case for the right service.
  • Security will continue to remain a top concern. Recent research from Juniper suggests that the rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, increasing to almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015. That’s trillion with a ‘t’. The report goes on to say that the average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million by 2020, as more business infrastructure gets connected. Remember, the data that we create isn’t benign. In fact, it’s very valuable to us, businesses, and the bad guys. Ensuring device and data security best practices will help you protect your brand and keep user confidence high. Depending on the device and your industry – make sure to really plan out your device and data security ecosystem. And, it’ll always be important to ensure your security plan is agile and can adapt to a constantly evolving digital market.

Powerful cloud services are become a major part of our connected society. We’ve come to rely on things like file sharing, application access, and connected physical devices, and much more to help us through our daily lives and in the business world. The goal of cloud services will be to enable these types of connections in a transparent manner.

Cloud services will continue to evolve to support data and device requirements. The goal of the organization (and the user) will be to ensure you’re using the right types of services. With that, keep an eye on the edge – it’ll continue to shape the way we leverage cloud, connected devices, and the data we create.

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