News & Views

Silver Peak comments on IOT growth

As a new study by Juniper Research predicts industrial IoT connections will reach 36.8 billion by 2025 we are Simon Pamplin, Technical Director at Silver Peak (www.silver-peak.com) for his comments.

“That industrial IoT connections will expand significantly into this decade is unsurprising – after all, ‘smart factories’ that are able to optimize performance, and self-adapt to new conditions through IoT will greatly enhance manufacturing efficiency in line with the promises on industry 4.0.  However, while these technologies and the data they generate can offer a variety of operational benefits for manufacturers, it will also present challenges when it comes to the performance and security of the data traversing the network. If manufacturers want to take advantage of the opportunities presented by IoT, they will need to rearchitect their network infrastructures to assure the security and availability of this data, lest they negatively affect the quality of experience to users or expose the organisation to risk.”

“The issue is that IoT devices are agentless and create huge volumes of data, which they will need to securely communicate with each other at the ‘edge,’ as well as with cloud applications.  Ultimately, the smooth communication of this data lies in the architecture and security of the network.  However, traditional router-centric approaches to WAN have been optimised for branch to data centre communications and are not architected to handle the cloud-destined WAN traffic required for today’s sophisticated use cases.  The best-case scenario for achieving the smooth transfer of IoT data traffic is through a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) integrated with cloud-delivered security services, although hybrid WAN architectures, which bridge from dedicated data centre and MPLS resources to public shared cloud resources can serve as a transition for manufacturers not yet ready to transform their network and security architectures.”

“What is apparent when it comes to Industry 4.0 technologies is that there’s a huge amount of complexity involved.  It’s not simply a matter of increased volumes of data or the emergence of new security threats, but different types from a variety of devices and applications that need to be processed, secured and analysed differently in order to be turned in to actionable insights, all without impacting the end user quality of experience.  It’s necessary then to have a certain level of automation and orchestration embedded within the network itself to manage this.  Thankfully, advanced SD-WAN solutions can now increasingly apply AI to fill in network services with better context and connectivity.  In this intelligent way, the WAN ‘speaks’ to the edge devices in branch offices and decipher what a device is based on its IP address. When combined with cloud-delivered security services, this enables automated policy orchestration across the large number of devices and applications one might find in a global manufacturing company.”

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