In the IoT world, general-purpose databases can’t cut it


We live in an age of instrumentation, where everything that can be measured is being measured so that it can be analyzed and acted upon, preferably in real time or near real time. This instrumentation and measurement process is happening in both the physical world, as well as the virtual world of IT.

For example, in the physical world, a solar energy company has instrumented all its solar panels to provide remote monitoring and battery management. Usage information is collected from a customers’ panels and sent via mobile networks to a database in the cloud. The data is analyzed, and the resulting information is used to configure and adapt each customer’s system to extend the life of the battery and control the product. If an abnormality or problem is detected, an alert can be sent to a service agent to mitigate the problem before it worsens. Thus, proactive customer service is enabled based on real-time data coming from the solar energy system at a customer’s installation.

In the IT world, events are being measured to determine when to autoscale a system’s virtual infrastructure. For example, a company might want to correlate a number of things taking place at once — visitors to a website, product lookups, purchase transactions, etc. — to determine when to burst the cloud capacity for a short time to accommodate more sales or other kinds of activity.

The idea of measuring everything is to become more data-driven as a business, to be able to make better business decisions and take timely actions based on events, metrics, or other time-based data. This is happening across all industries as companies use their digital transformations to change the way they do business.

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