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What works best for IoT storage?

Storage for IoT devices and applications requires new strategies and approaches. Find out how three approaches are being used to facilitate storage for consumers and enterprises.

In the world of IT, the one constant is rapid change. As new technologies evolve, the services that underpin them must change as well. Let's consider the effect of IoT devices on storage and identify the kinds of storage that work well for such environments.

This look at IoT storage must start with examining the changes happening in IoT. What began as a catch-all term to describe the proliferation of difficult-to-categorize technology has become fuzzier as IoT has caught on and become prevalent in several areas.

IoT was once just smart thermostats and garage door openers. Now it includes a plethora of devices from data center sensors to cameras on every street corner to entire networks of devices that define smart cities. What is clear is that IoT is no longer easy to classify, and stratification in this space necessitates new strategies around storage.

Here's a look at some common IoT storage solutions:

  • Consumer IoT devices. These really began the IoT trend, and include the aforementioned thermostats and garage door openers, but also home camera systems, TV devices, smart home devices and much more.

    From a storage perspective, not much has to be considered here because the products often come with a service plan. For example, if you're a fan of Ring doorbells and cameras, Ring makes available a cloud-based service that lets customers store their data in the cloud. Sure, in some cases, consumers can build their own IoT storage for these devices, but it's far from necessary.
  • Enterprise core computing devices. As in the consumer space, there are ample examples of enterprise IoT devices, including cameras, sensors and a lot more. All these devices require storage, and the unstructured data generated by IoT devices is a perfect use case for highly scalable, object storage systems and -- even -- cloud storage. The key is to ensure there is enough storage capacity for the data involved, and sufficient bandwidth to handle the overall velocity of data being ingested into IoT storage systems.

  • Industrial, edge, fog. Where things get tricky is when you look outside the confines of the home or data center to edge locations. Cloud providers, such as Microsoft with Azure IoT Edge, have products to help in these use cases, but they don't always work when there are bandwidth or latency constraints.

    The cloud is too far away, and on-premises data centers aren't always feasible, for instance, when edge environments are mobile or there are serious space constraints. For these environments, consider smaller local IoT storage approaches backed to a central or cloud stack, or look to edge-centric storage providers such as ClearSky Data to help ensure you're able to meet your IoT SLAs.

The varied and fragmented nature of IoT and key differences between the three types of IoT devices -- consumer, enterprise, edge -- means there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how IoT data gets stored. While we've provided some basic guidelines here, work with your IoT device providers and others, such as your cloud provider, to optimize storage for your IoT devices and network.

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