Data Centers and the Internet of Things
Traditionally, when thinking of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, we envision computers and data centers networked via the Internet. However, in recent years there has been the development of a whole new class of connected devices—smart watches, smart cars, and even smart buildings—replete with their own software, actuators, and sensors. Given all these new points of networked connection, our “old” Internet has transformed into the Internet of things (IoT) with the net result being data centers will have both an increased workload and new security concerns.
Projected IoT Growth
A recent article by Business Insider estimates that by 2020 there will be 34 billion connected devices (24 billion IoT and 10 billion traditional computing), at least a four- to five-fold increase from 2015, in conjunction with a total information technology (IT) investment of $6 trillion across all sectors. The top three sectors affected will be:
- Businesses — 11.2 billion devices and $10 billion spent
- Governments — 7.7 billion devices and $2.1 billion spent
- Consumers — 5 billion devices and $900 million spent
This $6 trillion—two-thirds of which will go to application development and device hardware—is projected to have a return on investment (ROI) of $13 trillion. But that’s only for those who anticipate (and are prepared for) this scope of growth and related, necessary investment. For example, IBM announced in March 2016 a $3 billion investment over the next four years in IoT research and product lines.
Data Center Implications
Some data center issues as the scale of IoT device usage grows are readily apparent: more powerful hardware, increased bandwidth, and support personnel with up-to-date skill sets. However, one of the most pressing concerns will be the security of the myriad endpoint devices out of the reach of data center security protocols.
A prime example of IoT security failure occurred on October 21, 2016, with a series of dedicated denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Dyn, a domain name systems (DNS) provider. The malware Mirai executed tens of millions of requests for IP addresses via infected IoT devices such as baby monitors, printers, and IP cameras. The result was the largest DDoS attack on record—more than 1.2 terabits per second—which crashed over 70 major sites ranging from Amazon to PayPal to Xbox Live to Netflix. Damages were estimated to be at least $1.7 billion and perhaps as high as $17 billion. Ironically, the day before the attack Dyn’s principal data analyst Chris Baker had published the blog post “Recent IoT-based Attacks: What Is the Impact On Managed DNS Operators?”
The rate of transformation in data center planning, implementation, and management is only increasing. Contact Silverback Data Center Solutions to learn how to change without being a victim of change.
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