In the same way that urban transportation problems pose challenges in ensuring seamless utilization of city resources, the lack of a robust and agile city IT infrastructure limits the capabilities of city administrators to leverage the full potential of the various solutions being implemented. Smart city initiatives involve multiple technology providers and system integrators. The IT infrastructure must be able to cater to the demands of all kinds of applications.
Digital Cities solutions are quite complex. Cities today need to store and process vast amounts of data from cameras and other sensors deployed across the city. This requires enterprise-grade infrastructure management to meet compute, storage, and networking needs. There are too many components in a modern safety system for a single organization to manage. It is hard for cities to identify the right combination of hardware and software, properly deploy the system, and ensure all the subsystems work efficiently. They must consider whether the subsystems can scale appropriately. Without compatible storage and compute, overall system effectiveness is compromised. To compensate for this, cities tend to overprovision these resources, which increases overall cost.
Some of the challenges that IT administrators face in a smart city implementation include:
Modern IT systems require the implementation of cluster architectures for flexibility and fault tolerance. Cluster technology allows operators to build flexible, resilient IT systems. In case of hardware failures, the system functionality is restored automatically, and the recovery process must be transparent for video surveillance operators. A resilient server architecture is key to continuous availability of streaming video.
Infrastructure solutions that cannot scale will eventually limit the city from realizing the outcomes at the larger scale. Cities typically implement newer solutions as pilots that cater to a small area, however, as these pilots generate outcomes, these solution deployments should be rapidly expanded to apply city-wide. This expansion generates enormous amounts of data, and thus the need for compute and storage increases. The infrastructure supporting these solutions must be capable of scaling up both vertically and horizontally while maintaining efficiency.
Data storage and processing involves optimally storing collected data and running efficient analytics on it. As cities continue to implement smart solutions, the amount of data being generated increases enormously. Therefore, it is critical to have a robust and scalable data storage solution that can support multiple types of data that must be processed and stored at varying scale and speed. Many of the digital city solutions are governed by regulations and policies related to the storage and processing of the data, so it is critical for the data systems to support capabilities like long-term archival, role-based access, geographic distribution, and encryption.
The ability to secure data at motion and at rest, while also ensuring controlled access to that data, is key. In a digital city context, security and privacy are among the most important aspects to consider while designing new solutions. It is of paramount importance to the city to secure and protect the data related to its citizens. Thus, the infrastructure driving these solutions must have an intrinsic security capability to support various levels of data protection. Support for encryption, secure boot, signed firmware upgrades, audit logging, and alerts are some of the key security features needed at the infrastructure layer
Dell Technologies helps address each of these challenges through the wide range of infrastructure products in our portfolio, complemented with predefined reference architectures and lab-validated solutions.