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Fog Computing: Bringing Cloud Capabilities Down to Earth

When we think of “cloud” we think of a vast collection of compute, network, and storage capabilities that resides somewhere high above us—a massive repository of functionality that can be accessed from anywhere and any device with enough bandwidth to handle the data flow.

With practically unlimited power and scalability, cloud technology has been a key enabler of the Internet. But the Internet of Things (IoT) demands something more. IoT is a broad collection of sensors, cameras, smartphones, computers, and machines—all connected to and communicating with applications, websites, social media, and other devices. To maximize value, much of the data generated by these “things” must be processed and analyzed in real time. For example, sensors and cameras in and around a large retail store may continuously collect data about customer volume and traffic flow. The store can derive some value from all this data by sending it back to the cloud to analyze long-term trends. But the value is multiplied if the system can process the data locally, in real time, and then act on it immediately by sending more cashiers to the check-out line just before a surge in customer traffic.

This sort of real-time, high-bandwidth application requires a new distributed cloud model that brings cloud networking, compute, and storage capabilities down to earth—to the very edge of the network. My friend Flavio Bonomi has worked tirelessly with both academia and other industry partners to advance the concept of fog, inspired by the way the San Francisco fog extends the cloud to the ground. Fog computing creates a platform—what we call a fog node—that provides a layer of compute, storage, and networking services between end devices “on the ground” and cloud computing data centers. Fog is not a separate architecture; it merely extends the existing cloud architecture to the edge of the network—as close to the source of the data as possible—to enable real-time data processing and analytics. Read More »

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IT Paradox: Managing More Complex Networks with Limited Resources

I speak with Cisco customers regularly. The topic of the Internet of Everything (IoE) comes up often.  Put simply, their concerns can be summed up in a single question: How can I prepare for the network of tomorrow when it’s difficult to keep pace with managing the fast-moving complexity of my network today?

IoT: So Many Vulnerabilities. So Little Time and Resources. So Much at Stake.

Research firm IDC predicts there will be over 28 billion connected devices installed by 2020, while fellow analyst Gartner forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.

An example of one industry that’s moving to meet this opportunity is retailing. Like me, I’m sure you’ve noticed the change in your shopping experience — whether it’s contextual matching of products to your personal profile or in-store product or pricing comparisons using your mobile device.

But moving into the revolutionary digital retail environment enabled by the Internet of Things doesn’t come without risk. New connectedness brings new security threats. For the typical network administrator a major security issue like the Heartbleed bug can quickly turn into a bad case of heartburn. What’s the nature of the vulnerability? What devices are impacted? How do I respond? When you combine these questions with the day to day demands of directly supporting end-users, answering technical questions, resolving network issues, writing scripts, creating reports, monitoring systems and managing version controls, it’s not surprising that a network operations team can be overwhelmed. And that’s before the growing connectivity fueled by the Internet of Things.  Read More »

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IoE Innovation Hinges on Hyper Collaboration

Once upon a time, the world’s greatest inventions always seemed to come from individual geniuses locked in a room day and night on their own.  We often think of Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone by himself, Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb solo or Johannes Gutenberg working mostly alone to develop a mold that led to the first printing press.

Alex G Blog Pic 1Solo inventors will always play pivotal roles in developing “the next big thing” even as we we’re half way through the second decade of the 21st century.  Think Mark Zuckerberg masterminding Facebook  on his own in his dorm room at Harvard.

More and more, however, we’re discovering that in today’s Internet of Everything world, where complex technologies increasingly connect and converge, innovation hinges on all types of hyper collaborations.  Today, innovation requires open interaction among businesses, universities, startups, incubators, developers and others.  Now, collaboration makes innovation happen! Read More »

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Benchmarking Internet of Things (IoT)

Traditional to Big Data to IoT: Transaction Processing Performance Council Establishes Internet of Things Working Group (TPC-IoT)

Over the past quarter century, the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) has developed several industry standard benchmarks for database performance, pretty much in line with major technology trends. The two most influential benchmark standards have been TPC-C (standard for benchmarking transaction processing systems) introduced in 1991, and TPC-D and its successor TPC-H (standards for benchmarking decision support systems) introduced in 1994. These standards have been significant driving force behind the development and advancement of several database, server and storage related technologies. In addition, the TPC laid a solid foundation for complete system-level performance, and methodology for calculating total-system-price and price-performance, that have been widely adapted in the industry.

There is no doubt that industry and technology landscapes have changed and are still continue to change at a fast pace. Two of the technologies that will change the world in next 10 years are Big Data and Internet of things (IoT).

Big Data: Big Data is a popular term now that describes the exponential growth of data, often defined by the 5Vs, and the associated technologies to storage and process effectively and drive business values. The Big Data technology and services market represents one of the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar, worldwide market that is expected to grow to a $60 billion market driving $300 billion worldwide IT spending directly or indirectly by 2020.

Foreseeing the importance, in 2014  the TPC has developed TPC Express Benchmark HS (TPCx-HS)  to provide the industry with verifiable performance, price-performance, and availability metrics of hardware and software systems dealing with Big Data. This standard can be used to assess a broad range of system topologies and implementation of Hadoop systems in a technically rigorous and directly comparable, and vendor-neutral manner. This is the first major step while the TPC continues to enhance and develop new standards in this area such as TPC-DS with support for Hadoop and TPC-Big Bench.

Internet of Things (IoT): IoT  has emerged in the last few  of years, poised to transform virtually every major market segments, which contains a complex mix of technologies and products, from data collection and data curation to complex analytics exploiting the data generated by exploding number of connected devices. According to IDC the global IoT market will grow from $665 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020. To put that in perspective, it’s an absolutely enormous figure; only 16 economies in the world had gross domestic products exceeding $1 trillion in 2014.

As the IoT ecosystem evolves in the enterprises, it is eminent to have a set of standards that enable effective comparison of hardware and software systems and topologies in a technology and vendor-neutral manner. Continuing its commitment to bring relevant standards to the industry, today the TPC announced the formation TPC-IoT benchmark committee tasked with developing industry standard benchmarks for benchmarking hardware and software platforms associated with IoT.

We’d like to connect with companies, research and government institutions, to ensure holistic perspective during the benchmark development process. Anyone interested in our efforts can visit our membership page.

Thank You
Raghu Nambiar
(Chairman, TPC-IoT)

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Internet of Everything’s Sea-Worthy Innovations Show Potential for All

Though the high seas action of a competitive regatta and the halls of your office may not seem similar, those two worlds suddenly become alike when leaders in both environments use real-time data to steer critical decisions when seconds count for optimum outcomes.

As businesses race to innovate their environments and outpace industry competition, the sheer number of devices comprising the Internet of Things (IoT) – estimated to number 50 billion by 2020 – promises new levels of connectivity and an influx of critical data. This data and the resulting analytics continuously connect an expanding number of people, processes, data and things – the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Cisco recently took IoE to the decks of the Foxy Lady 6 – a fierce competitor in the Asia Yachting Grand Prix, which takes place over the span of six months. In a timeframe of two weeks, a series of IoT sensors, routers and wireless set-ups, and IoE advancements were installed to help the boat’s skipper and crew guide their race strategy and differentiate the Foxy Lady 6 as the competitor to watch.

In the past, data about various race conditions were pulled from a variety of sources. Predictably, this hodgepodge of information sources resulted in time-consuming efforts to sort, filter and organize the data that truly mattered. Now, an entire network Read More »

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