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Six reasons IoT storage should be object-based

Internet of Things data requires a storage system that can scale, as well as support analytics projects. Find out how object storage systems meet those needs.

Internet of Things devices generate incredible amounts of data that is primarily in the form of unstructured files....

While these IoT files are small, they can quickly add up to petabytes. That makes an object storage system or private cloud, object storage in a public cloud, and a hybrid object storage cloud all ideal IoT storage platforms.

Unstructured data does not fit well on block storage, which is far more suited for structured data. File storage is a possibility; however, the sheer number of files that IoT generates makes the hierarchical nature of file storage sluggish and awkward.

There are six reasons object storage tops the list for IoT storage:

  1. An object-centric, flat architecture is infinitely scalable, though supported scale is dependent on testing. Object storage can scale from billions to trillions of objects or files with capacities into the yottabytes. This is a major factor in why object storage is the predominant cloud-scale storage model for cloud service providers. That cloud scale makes an object-based architecture an exceptional IoT storage choice.
  2. Object storage provides extensive metadata on each object or file. That extensive metadata, ranging from kilobytes to gigabytes of information per object, enables efficient and effective search, data mining and analytics on stored data. This is why object storage has become a favored storage system for Hadoop MapReduce, Hadoop YARN or NoSQL projects -- analytics projects that gain value from IoT data.

Dell executive Andy Rhodes discusses why finding IoT storage that can keep up with data generation is a struggle for many SMBs.

  1. Object storage data is highly durable. This is due to modern erasure coding, a more efficient, lower cost, less resource-intensive and more resilient data protection method than RAID. This durability protects IoT data long-term, which enables historical analysis over long periods of time.
  2. Object-based storage has a high ingestion rate. IoT storage needs to handle dozens to millions of concurrent data streams. Object storage is a shared-nothing architecture that scales processing at the same time it scales capacity through the addition of object storage nodes. Each node adds compute power, which enables object storage to scale to the ingest rate required by IoT.
  3. Users can perform online tech refreshes in object environments. An object storage system never has to go offline, and its data never needs to be migrated. New nodes are added, old ones are removed and any objects that existed in the removed nodes are simply rebuilt via erasure codes.
  4. Object storage is low cost. It is architected to provide the lowest possible cost for active IoT storage or any other kind of data.

The Internet of Things has generated huge buzz among IT professionals. The number of devices connected to the Internet is estimated to be in the billions, with growth continuing to accelerate. IoT devices generate incredible amounts of data, but getting value out of IoT data requires it to be stored and analyzed cost effectively.

Next Steps

Primer on Internet of Things and how it affects the data center

How to plan for IoT in your data center

Crafting a cloud strategy for IoT environments

This was last published in March 2016

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What other technologies have you considered for IoT data storage?
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Well, everything Mr. Staimer said is true about IoT being a good use case for object-based storage. One thing to stress is that moving PBs of IoT data around for "big data anlaytics" is not going to happen. Big data is not portable, so putting and/or ingesting IoT data into an object-based storage cluster also needs to be where it can be analyzed without moving it.
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