What’s the Best Way to Store Smart Building Data?

Learn about smart building data storage—available options, challenges, future trends, and more.

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Every smart building requires a data warehousing solution capable of storing, processing, and managing data generated from the property’s network of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This storage infrastructure affects not only the building’s ability to store and use its data, but also the value that data offers to the building’s operations.

But one size does not fit all.

Standardized smart building data storage across every property in a smart city can pose challenges. The types of data generated, the size of the IoT network, and the building’s plans for analyzing and using data are just a few of the factors to be considered when developing a smart building storage strategy.

Types of Smart Building Data

The variety of smart building data must be accounted for when planning your data storage infrastructure. Text-based information, images, video, audio, and other forms of IoT data may all be generated from each of the following data types:

Sensor Data

Smart building sensors are often used to monitor indoor temperature, air quality, building occupancy, motion, environmental hazards such as smoke and poor water quality, electricity availability, and a wide range of other data points.

These sensors are used to manage indoor environments, proactively address safety concerns, optimize energy usage, and flag conditions that may reflect a maintenance or repair need.

Maintenance Data

Smart building maintenance can be transformed by IoT data, leading to more effective maintenance operations and improved mitigation of safety hazards and appliance outages.

From monitoring furnace performance to identifying changes in internal water pressure, maintenance teams can use this data to quickly direct resources to critical areas of need.

Operational Data

Building occupancy, foot traffic, staffing, sustainability metrics, expenditures, and other operational data can be collected and analyzed to achieve new efficiencies and profitability in managing the property.

Operations staff and building executives can use this information to refine a building ecosystem by controlling costs and pulling building operations in line with the property’s goals.

Data Storage Solutions for Smart Buildings and When to Use Them

The best approach to smart building data management often requires a mix of hot and cold storage and utilizing both on-premises and cloud-based data storage. Each smart building must choose how to implement and integrate this storage to be sure it aligns with the property’s unique data management needs and goals.

Here are the types of data storage available to smart buildings:

On-Premises Data Storage

On-premises storage uses physical hardware located within the smart building itself. This physical storage is valued for the unparalleled control and security it offers to your IoT data. Plus, it may be a necessary storage solution to meet relevant compliance requirements.

Another benefit is data being accessible even during an internet outage. Despite the many advantages, it comes with certain limitations, such as the cost of installing and scaling on-premises infrastructure.

Cloud-Based Data Storage

Cloud-based storage offers a convenient and efficient solution for storing your data by utilizing the infrastructure of a third-party service provider. This type of storage can be implemented through either a public or private cloud.

In a public cloud storage setup, your data is stored on servers maintained by the service provider, which can help minimize capital expenditures for your organization. Additionally, public cloud services typically offer flexible scalability, allowing you to easily adjust your storage capacity as your needs evolve over time.

On the other hand, a private cloud storage solution provides greater control and security over your data. With a private cloud, your storage infrastructure is dedicated solely to your organization and is often hosted within a remote data center. This setup offers enhanced privacy and customization options, ensuring that your sensitive data remains protected according to your specific requirements.

Whether you opt for a public or private cloud storage solution, leveraging cloud-based storage can offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, scalability, and improved data security.

Hybrid Data Storage Solutions

As the name suggests, this storage option combines on-premises and cloud-based storage to harness the benefits and capabilities of each storage solution. This eliminates concerns about the limitations of one particular approach, since hybrid solutions can be used to optimize resourcing and storage costs.

Hybrid environments are highly flexible and cost-efficient, and they provide the widest range of storage capabilities for any smart building.

Smart Building Data Storage Considerations

Given the volume and variety of IoT data generated by a smart building, as well as the many ways this data may be processed and analyzed to create new value for the property, smart building data storage infrastructure must be tailored to the data’s intended uses and goals.

Building decision-makers must account for future growth in IoT endpoints and their collective volume of generated data. This infrastructure needs to handle higher rates of data and more stringent processing requirements as smart technology becomes more commonplace in buildings.

Here are the top considerations when designing a smart building data storage solution:

High Data Density

Smart buildings require high data density storage systems to optimize storage due to the volume of data created by IoT endpoints.

High data density means substantial amounts of data can be stored efficiently into a compact space, enabling data storage cost efficiencies, and reducing your total capacity requirements. Enterprise-grade data storage hardware is often engineered to maximize total storage through efficient block storage design.

Reliable Encryption and Data Integrity

Encryption and other security layers are critical considerations for smart building data storage. Encrypted data is better protected from unauthorized access, preserving data integrity while mitigating the risk of data compromise or theft.

Smart buildings should also design a data storage infrastructure that makes use of cold storage and recommended backup strategies.

Seamless Integration and Scalability

All components of your storage infrastructure must fit seamlessly together to streamline data management and ensure consistent data security. It’s not just storage, either. Along with hardware and cloud solutions, analytics software, IoT endpoints, and other smart components must easily merge into your digital ecosystem.

Scalability also matters...especially over time. While cloud storage is more easily scaled to meet your needs, on-premises infrastructure must be designed with future data storage requirements in mind.

Sustainability and Self-Healing Storage

Sustainable data storage practices are often a high priority for smart building owners and stakeholders. An emphasis on sustainability supports lower energy costs, improved data governance, and better compliance with ESG initiatives.

Self-healing storage can help support sustainability by repurposing failed hard drives to rebuild data, extending the life of physical hardware and achieving a lower TCO for this storage infrastructure.

Challenges of Smart Building Data Storage

Issues might arise with even the best storage infrastructure options. These issues must be identified in advance and proactively handled by the smart buildings data strategies when designing storage and management systems.

Failure to address these challenges could put your property at a greater risk for data overload, security vulnerabilities, and a plague of inefficiencies resulting from data mismanagement.

Here are the most pressing issues every smart building should be prepared to address:

Vast Amounts of Diverse Data

Big data stresses your data management and storage system in multiple ways. The volume of data generated is an obvious problem. Smart buildings must be ready to process, organize, and store all the data created by IoT devices.

Managing this data can become more complex when handling many different data types. Text-based data is often simple to process and store, but more complex data like video presents a distinct set of challenges, especially when processing data to make it accessible and usable in the future. Methods must be established to consistently handle the various data your building is expected to create.

Velocity also matters. How fast is data coming into your system? How quickly do you want to process it and turn it around to generate real-time insights? The intended use of this data, and the peak speed at which data is created, must be manageable for your storage system.

Real-Time Processing Requirements

Real-time data monitoring can be incredibly helpful when keeping an eye on utilities, foot traffic, and other safety and operational considerations. But real-time data processing is also intensive.

Many smart buildings invest in edge computing frameworks capable of processing data closer to its point of origin to reduce latency and make real-time data available as quickly as possible to improve the solutions and services that rely on this information.

Security and Privacy

Depending on the building location, the types of data being stored, and the entities owning this information, smart buildings may be subject to a wide range of data regulations, including local data laws, consumer privacy acts, industry-specific compliance, and other guardrails.

These legal obligations exist alongside financial and other business implications related to data security and privacy. Multiple layers of security, including hardware encryption, authorized user access, firewalls, and other security components, should be laid out ahead of time to ensure a comprehensive, consistent, and resilient security front.

Store Your Smart Building Data with Seagate

Smart buildings have complex, diverse data management needs. Some types of data require hot storage, while others require storage in a cold location. Some data needs to be processed and used for real-time insights and monitoring, while others are most valuable when used to create year-over-year analyses and other historical comparisons.

However you choose to build your smart building data storage system, Seagate solutions can be configured to meet those specific requirements. For on-premises and private cloud storage, our enterprise-grade Exos® E 5U84, Exos E 4U106, and Exos CORVAULT™ systems provide high-performance, high-density block storage infrastructure with self-healing technology, sustainable design, and the advanced features required for successful smart building data storage.

For public cloud and hybrid environments, our Lyve Cloud solution can be seamlessly integrated with Seagate physical storage and your building’s network of IoT devices. Lyve Cloud can also help you create a hybrid cloud environment that adheres to recommended 3-2-1 backup strategy.

Whatever your building needs, Seagate can help you build it. Talk to a Seagate expert today to learn more.