As more connected devices get deployed in the Internet of Things, the network and cloud infrastructure needed to support those devices and bring relevant data back from the network edge will become more complex. Dell and VMware say they want to make management of all that infrastructure easier for businesses and their IT staff.
At the Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas this week, the companies announced a new partnership around VMware Pulse IoT Center, which they are billing as a secure, enterprise grade IoT infrastructure management solution.
Gartner forecasted in February that there will be 8.4 billion connected “things” in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and that figure will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. The research firm also predicted last year that 90 percent of IoT projects will use some form of IoT gateway.
The Pulse IoT Center is going to be the first in a family of Pulse-branded IoT offerings from VMware, and it is designed to more efficiently manage, operate, scale and protect customers’ IoT projects from the network edge to the cloud.
Dell will offer the Pulse IoT Center as the preferred enterprise management and monitoring solution for Dell Edge Gateway computers.
During a keynote presentation at the conference, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said that the history of computing is changing. “IoT is going to be the force,” he said, “that takes us to a more distributed world.”
The pendulum in computing has swung between centralized and distributed, Gelsinger said. Cloud has been a force over the past decade to decentralize computing, and IoT will be a force that “will drive us back toward the edge.”
It’s critical to be able to play in both public and private cloud environments, he added, and those need to be brought together in distributed networking environments. “We have to take control of the edge,” he said.
IoT devices — from connected cameras, cars, manufacturing equipment and lighting — generate large amounts of data. All of that data flows through gateways, a part of the market which VMware has been helping to develop. In 2016, it launched Liota (Little IoT Agent), a vendor-neutral open source software development kit (SDK) for building secure IoT data and controlling orchestration applications.
VMware is positioning the Pulse IoT Center as a simpler way for network administrators to track, visualize, monitor and secure hundreds of thousands of different types of edge systems and connected devices.
VMware also says the new tool will help improve reliability of infrastructure by giving users accurate and real-time visibility of the status of connected devices, allowing them to address problems before they occur.
The company also claims it will help accelerate return on investment from IoT projects by streamlining how those projects get deployed and scaled. It will serve as one management tool for all devices.
Finally, VMware says it will enable security across devices, the network edge, the core network and applications to further protect IoT infrastructure and data access.
The Pulse IoT Center uses VMware AirWatch for device management and VMware vRealize Operations for infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting. It will be available as both an on-premises solution and an “as a Service” offering, and is currently in private beta with customers across automotive, entertainment, retail banking, healthcare and manufacturing industries. It is expected to be available later this year.
The center will be able to interoperate between heterogeneous edge systems and connected devices with different hardware, operating systems and communication protocols. It will also define and track what, where and when things are updated over the air or changed using a sophisticated and flexible rules engine.
Users will be able to minimize data exposed by creating a tunnel from data point to application by using VMware NSX as an add-on. And the center will support an enterprise wipe of data from devices at any time if they are exposed to security threats. Users will also be able to maintain up-to-date firmware and security patches and upgrade software OTA via an integrated policy engine.
“Our customers are looking for faster, real-time analysis of the massive amount of data produced by devices on their networks, to perform immediate, smart decision-making. We know that intelligent computing at the edge of the network is critical to enhancing customer experience and accelerating business growth,” said Andy Rhodes, vice president and general manager of Internet of Things at Dell. “VMware Pulse IoT Center will help our customers make managing all their data and devices simpler and their journey to digital transformation a reality.”
Read all of our Dell EMC World 2017 coverage here.