Industry 4.0: Five key storage considerations for IIoT success

We are in the midst of the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, also known as the Industry 4.0 transition, within which there are several interestingtrends.

One in particular of note is how companies are placing more investment and resources into collecting and generating data from the networks of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices on their assembly lines, ERP systems, and the controlled operations that are connecting all their servers worldwide.

With the use of emerging technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) set to rise in the coming years, companies in the industrial sector need to consider how they process and store the large amounts of data they could begenerating.

Evolving business operations

The way businesses operate is constantly evolving and Industry 4.0 typifies that. With more connected devices than ever before, companies are relying on automation and the logging and transferring of data for everyday operations, to a degree they haven’t previously. Further technological developments like 5G will only add to that, with the speed and capacity that connected devices operate at being enabled by next-generation connectivity.

With so much data to process, computing power is increasingly moving to endpoints and to edge data centres, to ease the load on core data centres and minimise network latency as much as possible.

So, within the context of a data-driven fourth industrial revolution, what are the key storage considerations for IIoT success?

  1. Environment

There is a common misconception that data storage should and will work the same wherever it is placed – but this simply isn’t the case. Like anything, environmental conditions have an impact on data storage and should not be neglected. Factors such as altitude, humidity, temperature, and vibration (to name just a few) all need to be taken into account when deciding which type of storage device a business should be using in any given situation.

For example, a smart car in the desert heat or in a snowstorm would need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures whereas storage located in remote drilling rigs in the ocean would need to be able to withstand vibrations, as well as potential humidity and moisture.

  1. Performance

The amount of processing power and overall performance demands of data storage can vary drastically. The performance requirements of, for example, an old smart phone is relatively low due to the types of tasks that are being asked of it. Compare this to the needs of AI-powered, industrial drones and the difference is stark. The demands placed upon that storage device to process and store reams of AI-generated data is significant and this is a consideration that will have to be kept in mind for data-hungry IIoTtechnology.

  1. Endurance

Write and read-intensive applications are heavily-dependant on a reliable and robust storage solution to log that data over a considerable period of time. This is especially important in scenarios where devices are hard to access (e.g. thermal imaging cameras) so will need to be trusted to be installed and to work seamlessly with limited maintenance.

READ ALSO: Rack Centre announces $100m expansion on data centre

While performance is important for data storage devices, there will be scenarios where the speed of processing is not as important as overall reliability – and industrial workers will need to make that call depending on the task at hand.

  1. Remote monitoring

There are a number of different considerations involved in monitoring data. How is it being monitored? Who has access to that data and how often? With the rise in edge data centres of late, it’s not always going to be practical to physically reach and service data centres orIIoT devices. In those situations, the ability to remotely monitor the condition of the storage device will be important for maintenance over time and to ensure the are no unwanted complications.

  1. Data retention

While the ability to store data for long periods of time is often useful for a businesses’ personal records, to help inform its strategic decisions – in some cases that need is essential. If a company is processing and logging critical data, whether that’s government information or medical records, that data often needs to be stored for an extended period of time just to comply with regulations and reduce the number of potential errors. In these types of situations, the ability to store data for an extended period of time will be necessary and will need the appropriate storage solution to enable that.

The data demands that come with the fourth industrial revolution are rarely the first thought when innovative solutions are created and bought but perhaps they should be. When purchasing a new piece of technology, companies in the industrial sector should be working backwards and considering whether they have the storage capabilities to support these new devices effectively. Whether it’s flash storage or Helium-filled hard drive disks (HDDs), companies should be investing in the solutions that meet their demands.

Smart technology is making businesses more efficient and productive by processing and analysing data between devices far quicker than was possible before. Industry 4.0 is a reflection of the way technology is transforming business operations but it’s important that storage considerations are taken into account to help it reach its full potential.


The post Industry 4.0: Five key storage considerations for IIoT success appeared first on Vanguard News.

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