Nick Razey, CEO, Next Generation Data
The frightening thing about The Internet of Things (IOT) is that we really have no clue what it will mean. Many people quote a figure of 25 bn internet connected devices in 2015. This is taken from a Cisco Whitepaper which extrapolates existing growth rates without really knowing how the IOT will change things. Some correspondents talk about a trillion devices connected to the internet.
In terms of data traffic it is worth remembering that networks follow a power law so internet traffic will grow much quicker than the number of connected devices and we can expect that data sources will become more dispersed and less predictable and data packets will become smaller which are harder for routers to process. This will overwhelm the existing internet infrastructure requiring a complete overhaul including the ongoing upgrade to IPV6.
Not only will traffic volumes change but traffic patterns may change in a way we cannot predict. Will more traffic stay at the network edge? Will this mean a less centralised data centre structure? Who will be the big controllers of traffic flows? Will Netflix be surpassed by “CattleNet” monitoring the health of 260m cows?
Data volumes have been doubling every 18 months for some time but data centres have coped thanks to virtualisation which has absorbed much of the huge growth. However what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg and what we think of today as Big Data will be looked back on as a drop in the ocean.
So we can expect the IOT to drive accelerated growth in data centre space and power.
Over the last 10 years the Data Centre has become more and more critical. As the IOT pervades all aspects of daily life this trend can only continue. Imagine the M4 with driverless cars hurtling along and the Data Centre housing the control equipment goes off line! As the Data Centre becomes more and more mission critical the inevitable corollary is some form of Government regulation. Today there are no licences for operators and no minimum legal standards for the facility itself. This is sure to change.