Just about every IT organization recognizes at least the potential that the Internet of Things (IoT) represents in terms of transforming the business model of the companies for which they work. Figuring out how to harness the IoT is another matter altogether.
To help IT better work with IoT technologies, Microsoft and Jasper, a provider of IoT services management software, announced today that they have allied to bring that software to the Microsoft Azure Cloud.
Macario Namie, vice president of strategy for Jasper, says that the Jasper IoT platform is used widely by operators of mobile networks to manage machine-to-machine (M2M) networking. The alliance with Microsoft will make this proven IoT services management platform that is already being used by 2,000 organizations readily available in the cloud to many more companies.
Though most IT organizations today don’t have the time or resources available to build an IoT platform from the ground up, by combining the Jasper IoT services platform with a forthcoming Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, scheduled to be available as a technology preview later this year, Namie says IT organizations will be able to get a significant jumpstart on their IoT projects by invoking over 100 application programming interfaces (APIs) that Jasper has already exposed.
The nature of those projects, however, is a subject of fierce debate. Some argue that because of the amount of data involved, IoT applications will have to be highly distributed with as much processing as possible taking place on gateways out at the edge of the network. Rather than transferring all the data collected back to the data center for processing, that approach will maximize network bandwidth to the fullest extent possible.
But Namie notes that most existing M2M applications are centrally processed in larger data centers. Not only is it expensive to distribute processing out to the edge of the network, but securing and managing those processes presents something of a logistical nightmare. The cloud, on other hand, provides access to inexpensive compute power that not only scales as needed, but is simpler to manage and secure.
If this sounds reminiscent of the historic debate between mainframes and x86 servers, it might be because it’s the same argument, which some 50 years on continues to play out inside IT organizations. The only difference is that instead of a mainframe, there’s a massive cloud of compute resources capable of handling anything IT organizations can throw at it.