October 19, 2017
By Paul Barker
Earlier this year, VMware took the wraps off of a major product initiative, one that revolves around the infrastructure management side of the Internet of Things. The thinking being that with the number of IoT endpoints expected to reach 30 billion within the next three years, according to IDC, some sort of process must be in place in order to avoid uncontrollable chaos.
VMware Pulse IoT Center, the company says, is designed to help organizations manage, operate, scale and protect their IoT projects from the edge to the cloud: “Customers investing in IoT face significant challenges as they move from proof of concept to production. They are seeking a simpler way to track, visualize, monitor and secure hundreds of thousands of different types of edge system and connected devices across their IoT use cases.”
Features include the ability to manage, monitor and secure diverse IoT edge systems, connected devices and applications from a single console, interoperate between heterogeneous edge systems and connected devices with different hardware, operating systems and communications protocols, and define and track what, where and when things are updated over the air (OTA) or changed.
A blog posted by the company stated that while IoT is poised to deliver substantial economic and operational value to almost every business process in every industry, gaining this value depends on the successful marriage of information technology and operational technology. The author added that each brings a “diverse mix of systems, businesses process knowledge and services to the table.
“IT expertise and tools are critical to connect traditionally unconnected operational technologies ranging from kidney dialysis machines and video surveillance systems to interstate toll highways, aerial drones and mobility-based voting booths.
“IoT generates huge volumes of data and much of it is produced by simple devices with little or no security. Securing an IoT implementation from sensor to the cloud or data centre and managing the data it generates present two huge challenges.
“Data management and security cannot be accomplished simply by bolting on applications or dedicating individual servers and storage to IoT workloads. New solutions for data control security, scalability, devices, connectivity and more are required to ensure that data is managed for maximum efficiency, scalability, flexibility and adherence to data governance models.”
At a recent press briefing in Toronto, company CEO Pat Gelsinger (pictured) said that cloud and IoT are polar opposites in that one – cloud – has been a centralization force, the other will be a decentralization force.
“More intelligence will move to the edge. Are you going to have your robotic factory console control system coming off a remote cloud? Are you going to have a battleship control system floating around the Mediterranean coming off of a satellite-connected cloud? It is not going to happen. It is going to be a force toward the edge. We have always said that hybrid cloud is the answer and in that regard it is going to be a balancing agenda across those two worlds.”
Gelsinger said the company’s IoT strategy is to take care of the “boring, hard stuff” and partner with “people who do the sexy, cool stuff.
“The boring hard stuff is the connectivity, the security and the management of the IoT infrastructure. That is what we are going to focus on. How do you create that secure underlayment for IoT devices? How do you take a smart light bulb that has no upgrade capability and can be a security vulnerability and make it part of a secure system.
“That is where gateways play a critical role. The gateway device will be that point of interception for management where both telemetry, metrics and management upgrades are performed. It will be a very important architectural element for delivering an IoT system.
“We have to assume that IoT devices will be by nature unsecured and unmanaged. They become secure and managed through an intelligent gateway functionality.”
Gartner recently estimated that through 2020, upwards of 90% of IoT projects will use some form of IoT gateway.
In February, the research firm projected that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost US$2 trillion this year, said Gartner. C+