How Many Clouds Does it Take to Power the Internet of Things?

Jane Shurtleff
How Many Clouds Does it Take to Power the Internet of Things?


“We would not be talking about the Internet of Things without the cloud.”

And with those words, Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, kicked off the “Connected Cloud Summit: Leveraging the Cloud to Fulfill the Promise of the Internet of Things (IoT).” The summit focused on the IoT phenomenon and the role the cloud will play in bringing the full transformational impact of IoT to consumers and businesses around the world.

In every session I attended, I was struck by a relentlessly common theme: realizing the business potential of IoT will not about just one company, it will be about an ecosystem of like-minded partners operating within an interconnected multi-cloud landscape. From large systems and device vendors to security and big data analytics players to global data center and cloud leaders ̶ we all have a critical role to play in realizing IoT’s full potential. And increasingly, we will need to play those roles together.

IoT will transform the data center

Kaplan’s opening keynote cited a 2014 Gartner report, “The Impact of the Internet of Things on Data Centers,” which projected the number of Internet-connected devices growing from 6.9 billion units today to 26 billion in 2020 (24.74% CAGR) and producing 44 zettabytes of data.

Underpinned by a growing reliance on data centers to house, interconnect and activate all this IoT data for business and social gain, the ways in which IoT might transform our daily lives are endless. Cars that not only tell you when they need servicing, but automatically notify your dealership to order a new part. Smartphones that instantly alert healthcare providers that a patient’s vital signs are not normal. City-wide parking systems that notify you when a parking space is available and allow you to reserve it from your cell phone.

Of course, along with all of this innovation comes new challenges in networking, security, availability, scalability, interoperability and analytics. In his keynote, Peter Utzschneider, VP of Product Development for Oracle discussed how IoT is creating a new “device cloud” where mediation between devices and enterprise and service provider processes is absolutely critical. This mediation will require a tremendous amount of cooperation among IoT-empowered businesses and cloud/network service providers alike. Similarly, Bobby Patrick, CMO of HP Cloud emphasized that participation in open source standards such as OpenStack will be essential to make IoT possible.

Interconnection accelerating the ride

Throughout the summit, it was exciting to see such a deep exploration of the importance of collaboration and interconnection in the next phase of cloud and IoT growth. As the world’s interconnection leader, we have dedicated ourselves to forging the technological connections that accelerate business advantage for our customers and the industry at large.

As more and more companies build solutions and services that rely on multiple private and public clouds, we’re challenging ourselves to step up and deliver our interconnection leadership in new ways. We recently announced that we are joining forces with Cisco to jointly develop enterprise customer solutions that utilize Cisco’s Intercloud technologies and the Equinix Cloud Exchange™ to deliver more secure, resilient and efficient interconnection to public clouds. This collaboration with Cisco is one of many examples of our efforts to work with other industry leaders to accelerate the advantages of cloud computing and create a rock solid foundation for IoT-ready IT. Because if we truly want to speed towards a future in which IoT transforms our businesses and improves our daily lives, it’s clear that interconnection is the fuel to get us there.

Learn more about the Connected Cloud Summit and check out the blogs on our announcement with Cisco authored by our CTO Ihab Tarazi and Nick Earle, senior vice president, Cisco Cloud & Managed Services.