Cloud computing and the Internet of Things are usually combined, but how exactly do these two interact? Although IoT connectivity can exist without a cloud, it is certain that cloud computing enables many IoT devices to operate with higher power and efficiency. To fully understand cloud computing in the Internet of Things, let's start with the history of cloud computing and explore how it affects the deployment of the Internet of Things.
The evolution of cloud computing
In the early days of computing, the use time (also called machine time) for enterprises to purchase mainframes, because the cost of purchasing and maintaining mainframes is very expensive. In the 1990s, due to the emergence of microcomputers and personal computers, companies began to abandon the original leasing method and gradually adopted the local server / client method. Now, with the advent of virtual machine technology, and companies collecting and storing large amounts of data, they are again turning to off-site solutions in the cloud.
Cloud infrastructure is a collection of a large number of networked servers, providing enterprises with a cost-effective way to store information. It also provides enterprises with the computing power to run complex data analysis and other programs without having to invest in expensive hardware. Today, the largest cloud service providers are tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. They usually provide a pay-as-you-go model that closely matches budget constraints, and allow companies to expand their use as needed. The cloud also supports software as a service (saas), the ability to purchase software subscriptions. The software is not downloaded, but remains on the remote server, and users access and operate it through the online portal.
Cloud and Internet of Things: a perfect match
In a typical IoT deployment, many IoT sensors (tens, hundreds, or thousands) collect data and send it to a central location for analysis. In many cases, this central location is the cloud. With cloud management, mobile operators can access their sensor data from anywhere via any device and network connection. For example, if ocean sensors attached to buoys are scattered in the Gulf of Mexico, operators can extract data on tablets to assess maintenance issues or run data analysis. If there is no cloud, it is much more complicated to polymerize data across large areas and different devices.
Many IoT providers also provide IoT platforms, or SaaS programs, to help IoT managers manage their connected devices and data from a distance. Cloud providers allow companies to store and process large amounts of data at the lowest cost, thus opening the door for big data analysis.
Cloud computing and edge computing for IoT services
Although the cloud is indispensable for most IoT deployments, the on-site processing of some functions has recently been restored. Edge computing retains some data processing at the edge of the network where IoT sensors and terminal devices are located. This is crucial in some IoT applications, such as driverless cars, in which any delay in data analysis and decision-making can cause a crash.
In some cases, edge computing can add a layer of security. For example, IoT solutions can use edge computing systems to deliver operational technical data to plant managers instead of sending all sensor data directly to the cloud. This will minimize the potential security risks of transmitting all information over the air.
However, although data transmission through the network always brings some security issues, preventive measures can greatly enhance the security of cloud computing. For example, keeping device firmware up to date, ensuring that all transmitted data is encrypted, and implementing standard user authentication procedures can help prevent cyber attacks. Mobile network operators should also strive to achieve complete network visibility to understand what is happening throughout the network. This vigilance allows companies to discover potential problems before they devour the entire system, including malware or ransomware attacks.
Obviously, cloud computing will continue to exist, and in terms of data storage and analysis capabilities, it is a huge driving force for IoT services.