August - 2015 - issue > CXO View Point

The Network is the Critical Backbone of IoT

By Swapna Bapat, Director – System Engineer, Brocade
Monday, July 20, 2015
By Swapna Bapat, Director – System Engineer, Brocade
The hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) does not always fit with a business case that CIOs can take to management with an accurate cost overview, or prove how RoI will be achieved.

In reality, to deliver on the promise of the IoT, there is a pragmatic first step CIOs need to take when assessing cost and components for IoT implementations. Organizations need to realize that a significant upgrade to existing network infrastructure will be critical. All too often, today's emerging technologies are reliant on outdated networking technologies. These systems simply cannot cope with the pressure exerted by the exponential increase in data traffic and the number of connected devices, which will only increase as IoT becomes commonplace.

A radical new approach, based on fabrics, will therefore be critical if we are to truly create a world where data and applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any and every device with an IP address. This in turn means that scalability and flexibility in network infrastructure are critical to enabling organizations to service more users, applications and data. Virtualization in businesses is well established in the physical layer, and at Layer-2 to an extent, but it needs to extend to the network layer in order accommodate the increasing number of constantly connected endpoints that IoT will bring.

A Brocade study has found that nine out of 10 IT decision makers admit their infrastructure requires substantial upgrades, therefore it is clear that the network has to evolve. If it does not, the potential benefits of IoT will never be fully achieved. There needs to be a careful balancing act between what users want and what can be delivered without compromising bandwidth speeds and security. CIOs and IT departments need to be careful not to overload users with information that isn't relevant and which may over-complicate things.

Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, states that the power of a network increases by the square of the number of nodes connected to it. According to IDC, the total 'Internet of Things' market including technologies and services will be $8.9 trillion by 2020, with 212 billion devices connected to the Internet, exponentially increasing the power of the network.

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