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Managing IoT Device Data with Cloud Volumes Service to Improve Retail Analytics

April 15, 2019

Topics: 4 minute read

The way people shop is changing. Brick-and-mortar stores long ago began to give way to online retail giants, which offer both a broader selection and greater convenience. In order to thrive, traditional retailers must be agile and self-aware, adopting monitoring technologies like IoT devices that better track crucial variables like foot traffic and in-store shopping patterns. But capturing that data is challenging, and crunching the numbers requires high computing power. Traditional retailers need to move to the cloud, migrating their enterprise applications quickly and efficiently.

NetApp recently began to support a global retail analytics expert that’s helped traditional retailers seize key profit opportunities with its IoT devices and comprehensive analytics suite. They intended, with NetApp, to migrate and manage the bulk data from their IoT devices in the cloud. Those devices are able to track inbound and outbound foot traffic to determine peak times and to map shopper traffic data to revenue conversion rates. But they need a strong cloud storage service to manage the scores of small files created by those devices.

IoT Devices in the Cloud

The company’s IoT devices produce millions of tiny files that are in turn processed by the company’s analytics applications, which run on Google Cloud. The bulk data produced by those thousands of files is stored in Network Attached Storage (NAS) using a combination of NFS and SMB/CIFS protocols. Recognizing the need to move those files from on-premises storage to the cloud, the company made the strategic decision to standardize all of their assets on Google Cloud. In turn, they needed to adopt a highly available cloud storage service to manage the raw data from their IoT devices in the cloud.

Selecting a Scalable Cloud Storage Service

In order to complete their move to the cloud, they needed to first migrate their NAS workloads to the cloud. They selected NetApp® Cloud Volumes Service® for Google Cloud as their cloud storage service. Initially, they migrated a workload of around 5TB, which consisted of a combination of NFS and SMB/CIFS, to the cloud using NetApp Cloud Sync, a key feature of Cloud Volumes Service that expedited their enterprise application migration. From the get-go, managing the data from their IoT devices in the cloud, rather than in NAS, increased the efficiency of their retail analytics platform.

In selecting a cloud storage service, the company primarily sought a reliable, easy to manage option that supported both NFS and SMB protocols and was already native on Google Cloud, their platform of choice. Since they would likely scale up in the future - their existing data repositories and additional workloads could see growth in excess of 50TB - they also needed a scalable service that could meet growing storage needs. Each cloud volume - a storage bin for data in the cloud - in NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud can contain up to 100TB of data and applications. With Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud, they can provision new storage volumes easily and autonomously, without a host of intermediaries creating IT bottlenecks.

A Boon to Agility

The company opted to test out NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud as an additional measure to reduce overhead costs and to improve the efficiency of their cloud operations.

In this particular instance, the company desired a fully managed cloud storage service with high availability across Google Cloud regions, since their analytics applications already leveraged those regions. Their ideal service also included SLO guarantees, which are key to minimizing the operational overhead of running their platform. The service had to be highly available to continually ingest and process data gathered by their IoT devices across the globe.

In other words, the cloud is a boon to the agility of retail analytics platforms. Tasks that formerly took months to complete (like making new source data available) now take minutes, which translates into cost savings. NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud includes the SLA and SLO guarantees that the company required, with regional coverage mirroring that of Google Cloud; it allows companies to easily migrate their enterprise applications to the cloud, and to maintain them with greater ease and agility than other, comparable options.

The Upshot: Availability, Security, Compatibility

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud fit the company’s criteria like a glove. The fully managed cloud storage service offered both SLO and SLA guarantees, 99.9% availability across Google Cloud regions, and NFS compatibility. With NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, the company can also quickly scale up or scale down performance, as needed, and they’re able to automate the process of relegating less important data to a storage tier requiring lower performance, which saves both time and money.  

The bottom line? NetApp Cloud Volumes Service ensures that their clients’ bulk data, drawn from IoT devices in stores and shopping malls and managed in the cloud, is secure, efficiently stored, and easily accessible.  

Ready to Get Started?

Do you want to learn how NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud can simplify your IoT device management in the cloud? Sign up for a demo of Cloud Volumes Service for Google Cloud, or watch our on-demand webinar to learn more.

Megan Matich, Cloud Data Services

Cloud Data Services