Realizing smart cities: the role of managed storage

You’ve probably encountered the idea of ​​the “smart city” in recent years

Essentially, the concept refers to the use of AI, IoT and advanced analytics to help cities improve their delivery of public services such as sanitation, maintenance and transportation.

Smart cities are exciting because they can allocate municipal resources in more precise and granular ways than we currently have. A smart city would monitor conditions on the ground, such as traffic density or water usage, and automatically adjust its infrastructure to improve efficiency – in these cases, by diverting traffic or limiting stations. pumping near areas of peak demand.

This means that smart cities promise a massive improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of a city’s services and resources – with some projections estimating that smart cities will generate $20 trillion in economic benefits by 2026.

But, to achieve this, local and state government IT teams must radically overhaul many parts of their IT infrastructure. Chief among them is their storage arrangements. What changes do IT teams need to make to their storage infrastructure to facilitate smart cities?

The need for endless storage

Smart cities rely on constant streams of data from IoT sensors and networked devices. However, a “traditional” centralized enterprise data center cannot provide endless storage or the latency required of a smart city.

Many centralized data centers today are being built far from urban centers, which will mean low latency for many critical sensors and utilities in the future, and the capital outlay to move them will make day-to-day operations and scaling smart city capabilities. extremely difficult. Ultimately, smart cities are going to require decentralization for storage – data close to sensors and equipment that serve as inputs and outputs to the network.

Additionally, smart city data needs to be stored, and regularly erasing this data is not an option, as teams will need sufficient datasets to use in model training. IA, long-term reviews, or analytics dashboards. This ever-expanding lake of data means that a smart city’s storage solution must be effectively bottomless.

Bottomless storage, in practice, means that the price per unit of stored data must be low enough that it is not a problem when provisioning and expanding a smart city’s infrastructure. This gives government agencies the ability to store all the data they need without the stress of having to make regular capital expenditures, which either means exhausted budgets and major setup projects for SysAdmins and DevOps teams. , or having to arbitrarily reduce the data pool. they will be able to draw for the operations.

Infrastructure managed as a data solution

So, ultimately, a functioning smart city’s data storage infrastructure must be both low-latency and bottomless. And as mentioned, bottomless storage in practice encourages teams to move to a system that is both scalable and allows teams to only pay for the resources they actually use. Ultimately, the best avenue currently available for the latter is through managed infrastructure: working with vendors who can turn initial capital expenditure into operational expenditure and can remove the logistics of increasing the storage provision of data.

Whether it’s the storage itself, network fabrics, or virtualization environments, managed infrastructure can meet the ever-growing needs of the smart city by adapting provisioning to current demand. At the same time, it also reduces the purchases and administration that traditionally come with scaling a centralized onsite or offsite data center, allowing smart cities to benefit from the economies of scale that a managed infrastructure provider can offer.

Realize the smart city

There has always been some resistance to managed infrastructure, especially among government agencies. But if the smart city is to be realized this decade, especially given the scarcity of talent, then managed infrastructure will have to be accepted as a necessity to build its storage backbone.

As the world’s cities grow at their fastest pace, the smart city is going to be essential in providing efficient, equitable and environmentally friendly services to burgeoning populations. And at the heart of enabling this paradigm will be a fast, bottomless, scalable storage infrastructure – and realistically, that’s the managed option.

About the Author

David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, the cloud storage company that offers fast, inexpensive, and reliable cloud storage at 1/5 the price and 6 times the speed of Amazon S3. Prior to Wasabi, David co-founded Carbonite, one of the world’s leading cloud backup companies. You can follow Wasabi on Twitter at @wasabi_cloud.

Feature image: ©Malchev

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