July 3, 2018
New benefits and opportunities open in IoT data management with a database on the edge
Note: This post originally appeared on the LiveWorx ’18 website and was authored by Alysha Brown, FairCom Corporation’s Chief Officer of Operations.
Note: c-treeEDGE became FairCom EDGE in November 2020.
We are in the early stages of a data management revolution brought on by the Internet of Things. One IoT impact currently being felt by organizations is the massive amounts of data produced from sensors, machines, devices and such. Cisco predicts that by 2020 the explosion of IoT will generate 600 Zettabytes annually (1 ZB=1 trillion GBs) of data. …. While this is a large number, it is only expected to continue to grow in mountainous volumes as more and more aspects of industry/business, healthcare and everyday life become connected through IoT devices.
The question is what to do with all this data? This is where the rise of edge computing is disrupting the status quo. Up until now, the answer to “what do we do with all this data?” for most has been to send all the raw data to the cloud, where it can be stored, analyzed and mined for nuggets of information. With the recent popularity of the cloud, it was the obvious solution. However, sending all data to the cloud is not the right choice for every system, and now, it is no longer the only option.
The latest option available are databases that operate on the edge – a point much closer to the sensors than the cloud. Lowering the distance data has to travel has an innate benefit to performance. This means the time to mine raw data for information gold is accelerated. Keep in mind, though, true performance gains go beyond simple data relocation, and businesses cannot place just any database on the edge and get more gold, faster. It needs to be one that is designed specifically to operate on the edge.
There are numerous benefits to deploying and operating a database on the edge. Improvements to data governance, for example, by allowing businesses to better manage the data that sensors collect and then decide where it should be stored – the cloud or the edge. In turn, companies can save on reduced bandwidth and cloud storage costs.
More importantly, and potentially game-changing, is the emerging ability to make mission-critical decisions on the edge based on the data that is collected by IoT sensors. A key component to making real-time, mission-critical decisions at the edge is data persistence, which can only be achieved with a database that guarantees persistence.
The ability to reliably persist data on the edge allows businesses to maintain a high level of data quality and significantly reduce the amount of time needed during a decision-making process. Data quality increases when there is less opportunity for data corruption (loss, change, manipulation, etc.) to occur during communication with the cloud. By having a database on the edge, again the closest position to the data’s origin, persistence and security are immediate. With lowered latency due to not sending data to and from the cloud, new business opportunities are possible for tools to prevent catastrophic equipment failure, enhance product quality control and protect human life.
Let’s be clear, though, we are not suggesting to avoid using the cloud. An ideal database is one that is fully functional on the edge but works nicely with the cloud, especially providing the choice to transmit some or all of the data. If for no other reason, best practice says a backup and recovery plan should include onsite and offsite options.
In June, FairCom launched a new database specifically designed for use on the edge: the c-treeEDGE IoT Database (now called FairCom EDGE). Built by FairCom Corporation and based on technology reliably used for IoT activities before IoT became a thing, FairCom EDGE IoT includes the tools that organizations need to have fast, reliable database operations on the edge. It also works well with a wide-range of platforms, systems, etc. One IoT platform that it integrates with is ThingWorx. Users can easily connect c-treeEDGE to their ThingWorx platform with the c-treeEDGE IoT Database Extension for ThingWorx, which is available in the PTC MarketPlace.
Detailed information about FairCom EDGE can be accessed here.