In 2018, cloud platform services had an exponential growth of 31.3%, as reported by Gartner. At the moment, the direction in IoT solutions is predominantly toward cloud-based platforms. This comes as a result of the abundance of software developed on platforms such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or AWS.
The aim of this article is to determine and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches in IoT solutions.
Anterior to IoT and Big Data period, retail enterprises showed a tendency to cloud solutions, given their dispersed structure. On the other hand, industrial enterprises inclined towards self-enclosed on-prem solutions. This kind of approach before IoT and big data is convenient for processes such as installing & managing the software, backing up, etc. However, the large amount of data produced by the devices comes with certain technical difficulties.
The amount of data produced by IoT devices is considered to reach 79.4 Zetabyte in 2025, according to IDC’s 2019 report. Also, 60% of this data will be produced in automotive and industrial IoT areas.
In order to instantly process this large amount of data and to establish reliable infrastructures to back up this data year over year, traditional systems are not enough. This requires a much more complex infrastructure. Unlike a classic software, that can work perfectly for years by integrating it into a SQL-based database, IoT platforms require SQL and NoSQL databases with tens of servers.
Trying to establish and manage this type of system locally, will create the following necessities:
Besides the previously mentioned difficulties, the impossibility to externally access the system and the devices working on causes significant complications to all processes (from simple operational operations such as device or system related device identification, to L1, L2, L3 support).
In a mobility era, when we need to access information from mobile devices anywhere and anytime, a closed-looped system that can be accessed only from computers within the facility does not represent an option anymore. Consequently, missing many opportunities that come along with cloud computing is one of the inevitable disadvantages, no matter the investment.
A closed-looped on-prem IoT system which requires a substantial initial investment (time & money) is therefore unlikely to offer the desired efficiency and benefit, mainly because the solution providers will not be able to access the system externally.
Considering these reasons, our recommendation is that cloud-based IoT solutions should be preferred taking into account project success, cost and implementation period