5G, Edge, and Industry 4.0 Q&A

The confluence of 5G networks, AI and machine learning, industrial IoT, and edge computing are driving the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. The impact of the industrial edge and how it is being transformed were among the topics at our SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) webcast “5G Industrial Private Network and Edge Data Pipelines.” If you missed it, you can view it on-demand along with the presentation slides in the SNIA Educational Library. In this blog, we are sharing and clarifying answers to some of the intriguing questions from the live event.

Q. What are some of the key challenges to support the agility and flexibility requirements of Industry 4.0?

A. The fourth industrial revolution aka Industry 4.0 aspires to fundamentally transform the flexibility, versatility and productivity of future smart factories. Key attributes of this vision include complex workloads to enable remote autonomous operation, which involves autonomous mobile robots and machines, augmented reality aided connected workers, wireless sensors, actuators and remote supervisory control systems, as shown in the diagram below. Machines in smart factories will no longer be stationary. To enable quick response to supply demand changes and enable mass customization (“batch size of one”), factory lines need to be quickly reconfigurable and need machines to move within a certain range. These AI-based, mobile autonomous robots and machines require high data through-put wireless networks and highly reliable sub-second latency for machine-to-machine control communications.

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Scaling Storage to New Heights

Earlier this month, the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) presented a live webcast called “High Performance Storage at Exascale” where our HPC experts, Glyn Bowden, Torben Kling Petersen and Michael Hennecke talked about processing and storing data in shockingly huge numbers. The session raises some interesting points on how scale is quickly being redefined and what was cost compute prohibitive a few years ago for most, may be in reach for all sooner than expected.

Q. Is HPC a rich man’s game? The scale appears to have increased dramatically over the last few years. Is the cost increasing to the point where this is only for wealthy organizations or has the cost decreased to the point where small to medium-sized enterprises might be able to indulge in HPC activities?

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Multi-cloud Use Has Become the Norm

Multiple clouds within an organization have become the norm. This strategy enables organizations to reduce risk and dependence on a single cloud platform. The SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) discussed this topic at length at our live webcast last month Why Use Multiple Clouds?

We polled our webcast attendees on their use of multiple clouds and here’s what we learned about the cloud platforms that comprise their multi-cloud environments:

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Join Us for 15 Minutes in the Clouds

Everyone is familiar with the term “Cloud” but it’s still worth asking “What is Cloud?”  It can be defined as “networked computing facilities providing remote data storage and processing services via the Internet.” And while that definition is simple (if a little wordy!), the real-world of cloud is complex, dynamic, and ever growing.

That’s why we’re hosting this series which will include brief 15-minute discussions on cloud and cloud related technologies:

  • What is Cloud – terminology 
  • Cloud application architecture 
  • Cloud data privacy & security 
  • Cloud provider storage offerings

At this first talk “What is Cloud?” on March 2, 2022, the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative will present a brief history of “The Cloud.” If you are a cloud expert, these sessions might not be for you, but for everyone else, this series of short talks might clear up a lot of questions you may have. Join us for a discussion on:

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5G Industrial Private Networks and Edge Data Pipelines

The convergence of 5G, Edge Compute and Artificial Intelligence (AI) promise to be catalyst for continued digital transformation. For many industries, it will be a game-changer in term of how business in conducted. On January 27, 202, the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) will take on this topic at our live webcast “5G Industrial Private Networks and Edge Data Pipelines.”

Advanced 5G is specifically designed to address the needs of verticals with capabilities like enhanced mobile broadband (emBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (urLLC), and massive machine type communications (mMTC), to enable near real-time distributed intelligence applications. For example, automated guided vehicle and autonomous mobile robots (AGV/AMRs), wireless cameras, augmented reality for connected workers, and smart sensors across many verticals ranging from healthcare and immersive media, to factory automation.

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Why Use Multiple Clouds?

As storing data in the cloud has become ubiquitous and mature, many organizations have adopted a multi-cloud strategy. Eliminating dependence on a single cloud platform is quite a compelling case with benefits of increased reliability, availability, performance, and the avoidance of vendor lock-in and/or specific vendor vulnerabilities to name a few. In short, spanning multiple clouds ensures a business does not have all its eggs (i.e. data) in one basket.

But multi-cloud environments are not without challenges. Taking advantage of the benefits without increasing complexity requires a strategy that ensures applications are not tightly coupled to cloud-specific technologies. Supporting a storage abstraction layer that insulates the application from the underlying cloud provider’s interfaces allows an application to be easily used with multiple clouds. It allows storage features specific to a cloud to be exposed in a standardized manner and enables data to be transparently accessed and migrated as needed in order to take advantage of cloud-specific features without the application being aware of the underlying mechanics, thus reducing or eliminating the limits and vulnerabilities of any one cloud.

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Storage at the Edge Q&A

The ability to run analytics from the data center to the Edge, where the data is generated and lives creates new use cases for nearly every business. The impact of Edge computing on storage strategy was the topic at our recent SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative (CSTI) webcast, “Extending Storage to the Edge – How It Should Affect Your Storage Strategy.” If you missed the live event, it’s available on-demand. Our experts, Erin Farr, Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM Storage CTO Innovation Team and Vincent Hsu, IBM Fellow, VP & CTO for Storage received several interesting questions during the live event. As promised, here are answers to them all.

Q. What is the core principle of Edge computing technology?

A. Edge computing is an industry trend rather than a standardized architecture, though there are organizations like LF EDGE with the objective of establishing an open, interoperable framework. Edge computing is generally about moving the workloads closer to where the data is generated and creating new innovative workloads due to that proximity. Common principles often include the ability to manage Edge devices at scale, using open technologies to create portable solutions, and of ultimately doing all of this with enterprise levels of security. Reference architectures exist for guidance, though implementations can vary greatly by industry vertical.

Q. We all know connectivity is not guaranteed – how does that affect these different use cases? What are the HA implications?

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Genomics Compute, Storage & Data Management Q&A

Everyone knows data is growing at exponential rates. In fact, the numbers can be mind-numbing. That’s certainly the case when it comes to genomic data where 40,000PB of storage each year will be needed by 2025. Understanding, managing and storing this massive amount of data was the topic at our SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative webcast “Moving Genomics to the Cloud: Compute and Storage Considerations.” If you missed the live presentation, it’s available on-demand along with presentation slides.

Our live audience asked many interesting questions during the webcast, but we did not have time to answer them all. As promised, our experts, Michael McManus, Torben Kling Petersen and Christopher Davidson have answered them all here.


Q. Human genomes differ only by 1% or so, there’s an immediate 100x improvement in terms of data compression, 2743EB could become 27430PB, that’s 2.743M HDDs of 10TB each. We have ~200 countries for the 7.8B people, and each country could have 10 sequencing centers on average, each center would need a mere 1.4K HDDs, is there really a big challenge here?

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Moving Genomics to the Cloud

The study of genomics in modern biology has revolutionized the discovery of medicines and the COVID pandemic response has quickened genetic research and driven the rapid development of vaccines. Genomics, however, requires a significant amount of compute power and data storage to make new discoveries possible. Making sure compute and storage are not a roadblock for genomics innovations will be the topic of discussion at the SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative live webcast “Moving Genomics to the Cloud: Compute and Storage Considerations.”

This session will feature expert viewpoints from both bioinformatics and technology perspectives with a focus on some of the compute and data storage challenges for genomics workflows. 

We will discuss:

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Continuous Delivery Software Development Q&A

What’s the best way to make a development team lean and agile? It was a question we explored at length during our SNIA Cloud Storage Technologies Initiative live webcast “Continuous Delivery: Cloud Software Development on Speed.” During this session, continuous delivery expert, Davis Frank, Co-creator of the Jasmine Test Framework, explained why product development teams are adopting a continuous delivery (CD) model. If you missed the live event, you can watch it on-demand here.

The webcast audience was highly engaged with this topic and asked some interesting questions. Here are Davis Frank’s answers:
Q.  What are a few simple tests you can use to determine your team’s capability to deliver CD?

A. I would ask the team three questions:

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