Successful IoT Projects: The Key Role of Automation
The Internet of Things (IoT) is placing huge challenges on network managers across all industries. With booming endpoint numbers and generated traffic, device management and network efficiency become of paramount importance. Just as IoT solutions begin to be deployed at scale, many organisations face the impact of their partners’ migration projects, from traditional network architectures to IP-based networks. To cope effectively, automation using DNS-DHCP-IP Address Management (DDI) will become vital.
Scale and IP transformation headaches
For categories including consumer, industrial and smart cities, industry bodies such as IEEE now predict 75 billion IoT devices will be deployed by 2025. That will entail millions of IoT projects, pushing responsibility for the IP device, the network and ultimately the data onto networking professionals to ensure delivery, management, access control, security, and network optimisation. As a consequence, control and automation systems will need to be adapted, to make sure the network teams don’t become overwhelmed by manual tasks as millions of IoT devices come online. In addition, companies will need to find ways of preventing inefficient use of network resources, and also to preserve the security of the network itself.
Legacy deployments will add to this headache. Telcos across the world are targeting PSTN migration to IP networks by 2025. As a consequence, businesses such as utilities companies, needing to communicate with remote equipment, are being forced to move to others communication protocols for IoT devices. Among these protocols, IP remains fundamental whenever bi-directional exchanges are required for active device monitoring. As a result, systems to efficiently manage these IP addresses are needing to be implemented.
Centralised inventory – a platform for enhanced services
For any sizable IoT project, management at scale is vital. Given the sheer number of devices that will require IP addresses, considerations will include address assignment, management and configuration automation. This can only be achieved via an intelligent, automated DDI solution. DDI ensures appropriate network availability through optimised capacity provision whether at peak traffic, variable or low demand. Smart DDI solutions go beyond automation and assignment, by enabling policy driven management. For example, in an IP-based street lighting roll-out as part of smart city solution, the DNS naming convention can enable location of the devices.
Companies caught up in IP transformation projects will benefit greatly from DDI. Consider organisations who used to monitor remote equipment status via PSTN, but are now obliged to access their equipment via IP addresses. Due to the increased complexity, relying on their legacy management solutions will no longer be an option for them. An innovative DDI solution not only brings them easier, more agile control and access to the equipment, it also a provides a central, complete inventory to help ensure conformity and enable additional value-added services to be offered – examples include improving maintenance processes, monitoring traffic, and ensuring high-availability of the network.
There are added benefits for organisations moving from IPv4 to IPv6. Even prior to the emergence of the IoT, the shift to IPv6 was accelerating. IPv6 provides the scale and scope for IoT projects to be global whether internet based or run on enterprise networks. As a management function, advanced IPAM solutions are able to organise IPv6 addresses into a database using block types and naming policies. This IPv6 support prevents IT project rollouts being delayed by address shortages faced by IPv4.
DDI provides management and visibility through efficient, centrally managed, device-specific configuration profiles. Policy enforcement of DNS service configuration is based on IPAM. Synchronised DNS-DHCP-IPAM, combined with inventory tools, therefore becomes a foundation for IoT as it enables sharing IP address information with other components of the network.
IoT device data – bringing you new revenues
Manual efforts at address management simply won’t scale to cope with IoT. Efforts which today are dogged by errors, duplication and security risks will be amplified in IoT projects. DDI automation and policy-enforced provisioning/de-provisioning accelerates time to market for IoT projects. It eliminates configuration errors, and enhances security. Global visibility across all networks from a single pane of glass helps control and management, and is the first point of detection for security breaches.
IoT is great for providing info and data – but the real value comes from how the data is used. Automated DDI helps companies use big data and analytics on IoT device information to optimise their operations and introduce new revenue-generating services. Who wouldn’t want that?
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