Internet Of Things: Why It Needs Scalable Infrastructures

The triumphant advance of the Internet of Things poses significant challenges for companies in scaling solutions and infrastructures. Edge computing can be used to introduce an IoT environment.

The forecasts for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) are impressive: Gartner’s market researchers estimate that the market for enterprise IoT platforms will grow to 7.6 billion US dollars by 2024 – with annual growth rates of over 30 per cent. IDC analysts predict that by 2025 there will be over 40 billion IoT devices that will generate 79 zettabytes of data.

The security provider Akamai has made similar projections and expects between 20 and 50 billion IoT endpoints by 2025. As attractive as this dynamic market development is economical, the effects challenge those responsible for infrastructure because over 40 billion connected devices mean over 40 billion individual connections – an enormous scaling task.

Internet Of Things: Data Is Created At The Endpoints

What is certain is that central network structures would be overwhelmed with this task. This is not only due to the high number of end devices but also to changes in the volume of data: If classic central infrastructures are designed to distribute large amounts of data from a starting point to many recipients, this relationship is almost reversed in IoT applications: the data is created in this case at the endpoints and must then be aggregated for further processing and forwarded to data centres.

In addition, specific variants of IoT applications also require fast and low-latency communication directly from end device to end device on site. In addition, monolithically programmed and centrally stored applications would make the necessary scaling more difficult – which is why it is essential also to remove parts of the code base of applications from the data centres and bring them closer to the IoT end devices. The obvious solution to all of these challenges is called: Edge Computing.

Edge Computing As The Perfect Infrastructure For The Internet Of Things

The concept of decentralized processing of data locally at the end devices is made for the Internet of Things: Applications running on edge servers can access the end devices on-site in a targeted manner. Direct connections between local IoT endpoints can also be provided quickly and with low latency via the edge cloud. If this “many-to-many” data traffic had to run through a central infrastructure, the IoT data would always travel long distances, and latencies would arise.

On the other hand, communication between local endpoints is limited to the environment of each edge server, the loss of time is minimal, and it remains manageable for the entire network. Nevertheless, edge computing can also forward relevant subsets of data to data centres or other central resources for comprehensive analyzes or data preparation via machine learning.

At the same time, important KPIs can be obtained directly on-site, for example, to support business decisions and then made available centrally in the interconnected systems. In addition, the use of edge computing also offers potential for cost reductions – because instead of expensive resources and transmission capacities, significantly leaner solutions can be used on site.

Flexibility In Data Transport, Processing And Security

Since edge computing offers many options concerning data transport, data processing and data security, this infrastructure also makes it possible to design the architecture of a solution for the Internet of Things specifically to meet the individual requirements. For example, specialized message brokers in edge servers offer the possibility that devices can easily communicate with one another but are protected.

Depending on requirements, the message broker supports both synchronous and asynchronous communication: data can be retrieved once the device is online again. The edge cloud can filter, aggregate, convert or analyze data packets. Applications can be implemented as microservices, whereby edge cloud operators relieve their customers of administrative tasks such as provision, maintenance or updating the systems.

These solutions meet high-security requirements through certificate-based authentication of the end devices with one another and end-to-end encryption of all communication links. Since edge clouds are usually provided by globally active, large providers, their infrastructures also offer good protection against large-volume DDoS attacks.

Overall, Edge Computing is a perfect partner for IoT, but in many cases, the basis for it in the first place. Together, the IoT and the Edge Cloud make it possible to fully exploit the Internet of Things’ great potential.

Also Read: No IoT Solution Without A cloud Platform

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