There’s a storm of data coming unlike any other, and savvy managed service providers should be gearing up for it now. A new report from 451 Research suggests that organizations planning to implement Internet of Things (IoT) projects expect to make significant investments in IT infrastructure.

A full 66 percent of the 364 respondents to the most recent Voice of the Enterprise survey conducted by 451 Research plan to increase their spending in the next 12 months, with investments in storage capacity (32 percent), network edge equipment (30 percent), server infrastructure (29 percent), and off-premises cloud infrastructure (27 percent) leading the way.

At the same time, almost half of respondents acknowledge they face a skills shortage for IoT-related tasks. According to the survey, data analytics, security, and virtualization expertise are expected to be the skills most in demand.

IoT impact on IT infrastructure

451 Research analysts note that the collection, storage, transport, and analysis of IoT data is impacting all aspects of IT infrastructure. For example, most companies say they initially store (53 percent) and analyze (59 percent) IoT data at a company-owned data center. IoT data remains stored there for two-thirds of organizations, while nearly one-third of the respondents move the data to a public cloud.

But it’s also worth noting that just under half of respondents say they do IoT data processing — including data analysis, data aggregation, or data filtering — at the edge, either on the IoT device (22 percent) or in nearby IT infrastructure (23 percent) such as an IoT gateway. 

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The result, 451 Research concludes, will be a coming IoT data storm that most enterprise IT organizations are ill prepared to manage on their own. In addition, most of the data generated by these applications will be time-series in nature. The majority of existing legacy applications aren’t designed to handle that type of data, though, so many organizations will also be looking to upgrade or replace many of their existing applications.

Opportunities for MSPs

Exactly when this storm will create revenue-generating opportunities for MSPs is anybody’s guess. One theory being put forward by Oracle is that there has been a shift toward deploying IoT applications rather than building custom applications because the line-of-business executives funding these projects want to start seeing a return on investment in as little as three months. Once that’s achieved, then business executives will have enough confidence to fund additional projects involving custom IoT applications.

Regardless of how this IoT storm arrives, the opportunity for MSPs should be immense. Whether it’s managing the underlying infrastructure or building and deploying the IoT applications, the amount of IT that will need to be managed outside the data center is soon likely to dwarf the amount of IT inside those data centers. Once deployed, of course, much of that infrastructure will need to be secured, and the analytics data created will need to be backed up in a way that makes it available for future reference.

Put it altogether, and IoT may wind up being the best thing to happen to MSPs since the introduction of the PC. After all, the more distributed IT becomes, the more likely it becomes that an organization will look to an MSP to help them manage it.

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Photo:  Vasin Lee / Shutterstock.

Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis.

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