The Doppler Quarterly Fall 2016 - Page 46

Responsive Data Architecture for the Internet of Things David Linthicum By taking a physical architecture–oriented approach, we can create more effective Internet of Things systems on public cloud– based platforms. In Internet of Things (IoT) systems, data frequently needs to be sent from a set of sensors to a database in a remote public cloud. The time it takes for the data to be transferred from the sensor or device to the cloud—that is, the latency—is often too long to meet the latency requirements of the IoT system. Thus, in some cases, the public cloud is avoided, and IoT systems can’t take advantage of the cost and resource efficiencies of cloud-based computing. We need to do something different—and we can start by building IoT applications at the cloud’s edge. This means we avoid sending all data from sensors and devices back to the cloud, and instead build data and applications on the edge of the network, which can handle most of the data gathering and processing. The idea of edge computing isn’t new, of course—we’ve been doing it for years to solve these same issues as they arise in other kinds of computing. For example, a cloudlet is an architectural element that arises from the convergence of mobile computing and cloud computing. It can be viewed as a “datacenter in a box,” with the goal of bringing the cloud closer. Another example is fog computing, which extends the cloud to be closer to devices that produce and act on IoT data. However, many IoT applications need to react almost instantly to the data generated by a sensor or device, such as stopping a train if sensors detect problems with the track switch a few miles ahead, or shutting down an industrial machine that is about to overheat and have a catastrophic failure. There are hundreds of use cases where reaction time is key in an IoT system, which is why latency is such an important concept. To effectively manage data latency, I provide a physical reference architecture for an edged based responsive data architecture (RDA), a framework based on patterns seen in real IoT projects that leverage the cloud. Think of an RDA as a physical framework including major components—such as services and databases—that are represented in a configuration that can be replicated with new system instances. In other words, it is a starting point or checklist to create your own high-performing IoT system that also leverages a public cloud. 44 | THE DOPPLER | FALL 2016