IoT applications will come in all shapes and sizes but no matter the size, availability is paramount to support both customers and the business. The most basic high-availability architecture is the typical three-tier design. A pair of ADCs in the DMZ terminates the connection. They in turn intelligently distribute the client request to a pool (multiple) of IoT application servers which then query the database servers for the appropriate content. Each tier has redundant servers so in the event of a server outage, the others take the load and the system stays available.
This is a tried and true design for most operations and provides resilient application availability, IoT or not, within a typical data center. But fault tolerance between two data centers is even more reliable than multiple servers in a single location, simply because that one data center is a single point of failure.
Cloud: The Enabler of IoT
The cloud has become one of the primary enablers for IoT. Within the next five years, more than 90% of all IoT data will be hosted on service provider platforms as cloud computing reduces the complexity of supporting IoT “Data Blending”.
In order to achieve or even maintain continuous IoT application availability and keep up with the pace of new IoT application rollouts, organizations must explore expanding their data center options to the cloud, to ensure IoT applications are always available. Having access to cloud resources provides organizations with the agility and flexibility to quickly provision IoT services. The Cloud offers organizations a way to manage IoT services rather than boxes along with just-in-time provisioning. Cloud enables IT as a Service, just as IoT is a service, along with the flexibility to scale when needed.
Integrating cloud-based IoT resources into the architecture requires only a couple of pieces: connectivity, along with awareness of how those resources are being used.
The connectivity between a data center and the cloud is generally referred to as a cloud bridge. The cloud bridge connects the two data center worlds securely and provides a network compatibility layer that “bridges” the two networks. This provides a transparency that allows resources in either environment to communicate without concern for the underlying network topology.
Once a connection is established and network bridging capabilities are in place, resources provisioned in the cloud can be non-disruptively added to the data center-hosted pools. From there, load is distributed per the ADC platform’s configuration for the resource, such as an IoT application.
By integrating your enterprise data center to external clouds, you make the cloud a secure extension of the enterprise’s IoT network. This enterprise-to-cloud network connection should be encrypted and optimized for performance and bandwidth, thereby reducing the risks and lowering the effort involved in migrating your IoT workloads to cloud.
Maintain seamless delivery
This hybrid infrastructure approach, including cloud resources, for IoT deployments not only allows organizations to distribute their IoT applications and services when it makes sense but also provides global fault tolerance to the overall system. Depending on how an organization’s disaster recovery infrastructure is designed, this can be an active site, a hot standby, a leased hosting space, a cloud provider, or some other contained compute location. As soon as that IoT server, application, or even location starts to have trouble, an organization can seamlessly maneuver around the issue and continue to deliver its services to the devices.
Advantages for a range of industries
The various combinations of hybrid infrastructure types can be as diverse as the IoT situations that use them.
Enterprises probably already have some level of hybrid, even if it is a mix of owned space plus SaaS. They typically prefer to keep sensitive assets in-house but have started to migrate workloads to hybrid data centers. Financial industries have different requirements than retail. Retail will certainly need a boost to their infrastructure as more customers will want to test IoT devices in the store.
The Service Provider industry is also well on their way to building out IoT ready infrastructures and services. A major service provider we are working with is in the process of deploying BIG-IP Virtual Editions to provide ADC functionality needed for the scale and flexibility of the carrier’s connected car project. Virtualized solutions are required for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to enable the agility and elasticity necessary to support the IoT infrastructure demands.
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