IoT and AI Generate Demand for Active Archive

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Perhaps lost in the current COVID-19 pandemic, is another pandemic of a far less threatening kind, the pandemic of the Internet of Things or IoT. It’s a good pandemic that will add value to everything we do and make. IoT is also one of the biggest drivers of storage demand currently exploding across the globe. It has been reported that there were 23 Billion IoT devices installed in 2018 with that number expected to grow to 75 billion units by 2025. While driverless cars are a good example of an internet-connected device with each vehicle generating terabytes of data every day, think about the smartphones that everyone has. Then think about smart everything else like smart homes, smart buildings, factories, machines, cities, airplanes, trains, trucks and so on. You start to get the picture and scope of IoT which is truly mind-boggling.

The market for IoT will continue to expand in 2020, especially as 5G networks start to proliferate. If you are like me and have been consuming more television than usual during this period of coronavirus lockdown, you may have noticed a lot of ads touting 5G networks. 5G promises to deliver 10X better performance than 4G, 100X better network density, with 100X more energy efficiency. With this key enabler rolling out, companies deploying IoT projects will need to plan for the data deluge that is coming as a result of these billions of devices!

To make these devices work better, or more efficiently, or safer in the case of transportation, the data they produce will need to be collected, analyzed, and stored for future analytics and reference. This is where Artificial intelligence (AI) tools come into the picture to provide the analytics power to derive value and competitive advantage from the massive volumes of data generated by the countless IoT devices. As a result, the combination of IoT data and AI will have a profound impact on the need for storage.

To be sure very high-performance storage will be needed to feed super-fast GPU processors used in AI applications. But AI applications such as machine learning require huge volumes of data scaling from terabytes to petabytes to train and test their algorithms. Organizations will then want to maintain access to original data sets for long periods of time and build on them to support a continuous cycle of data ingest, analytics, and inference. Extremely large archives will be needed as keeping all of this data on high performance storage will not be sustainable.

This is where intelligent storage management in the form of a more cost-effective and efficient active archive solution will be demanded to support the AI cycle.

An active archive is a cost-effective and always online scalable storage architecture that provides for rapid access to archival data via a virtual file system and moves data transparently between one or more storage platforms based on user defined policies. An active archive solution can leverage the unique performance and economic benefits of SSDs, HDDs, Tape, or the cloud (public or private). With additional intelligence provided by metadata and global namespaces, data silos are eliminated providing faster search and retrieval capability in a single virtualized storage pool with the ability to move much more data than legacy solutions typically challenged by moving massive amounts of data.

As volumes of data increase from IoT devices and to feed AI applications, cost and performance will play a larger role. What’s needed are storage solutions like active archive that deliver on these requirements. Look for active archives to be an even bigger buzz word in the storage industry, maybe even the next IT pandemic!


Rich Gadomski

Head of Tape Evangelism

As Head of Tape Evangelism for FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., Rich is responsible for driving industry awareness and end user understanding of the purpose and value proposition of modern tape technology. Rich joined Fujifilm in 2003 as Director of Product Management, Computer Products Division, where he oversaw marketing of optical, magnetic, and flash storage products. Previously Rich held the position of Vice President of Marketing, Commercial Products, where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products, value added services and solutions. Rich has more than 30 years of experience in the data storage industry. Before joining Fujifilm, Rich was Director of Marketing for Maxell Corp. of America where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products. Prior to that, Rich worked for the Recording Media Products Division of Sony Electronics. Rich participates in several industry trade associations including the Active Archive Alliance, the Linear Tape-Open Consortium (LTO) and the Tape Storage Council. Rich also manages Fujifilm’s annual Global IT Executive Summit. Rich holds a BA from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Fordham University. FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., is the leading manufacturer of commercial data tape products for enterprise and midrange backup and archival applications and provides long term data storage products and software through its FUJIFILM Data Management Solutions team.