Podcast Debate: Database Speed and Security on the IoT

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

April 28, 2022

Blog


Earlier this year, I posted a podcast with Steve Graves, President and CEO of McObject, a company that specializes in embedded databases. Steve and I discussed what it means to be “real time” when working with databases.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a podcast with another database company, ITTIA, who look at embedded device data management for the IoT. In that podcast with the company’s Founder, Sasan Montaseri, we discussed the differences between common databases and those that are intended for use with the IoT.

Apparently, Steve didn’t agree with some of the things that were said. Here’s what Steve had to say:

I listened to your latest installment of Embedded Executive with Sasan Montaseri. There are a couple of aspects to it that trouble me.

Sasan has it wrong. To capture its value, edge data eventually needs to find its way upstream, whether in raw or aggregated form. So storing the data locally on the edge device does not minimize security risk, it adds another layer of security risk. In other words, it increases data security risk.

Consider this: if a device does not store data locally, the IoT system need only be concerned about the security of data in two aspects: data in transit and data stored in the cloud. If data is stored locally on the edge device, then the IoT system must be concerned about the security in three aspects: the local data, data in transit, and data stored in the cloud.

Sasan’s assertion that “generally there is very minimal outside connection, or no connection to the outside world” runs counter to the very concept of the IoT. If a device has no connection, it is not a part of the IoT.

Sasan talks about ITTIA DB IoT as “time series… database management in real-time… suitable for applications that require fast response…” As we discussed in the Embedded Executive podcast with me that you published on January 12, this conflates ‘real-time’ and ‘fast’. Real-time has a well-understood definition, and it isn’t ‘fast’.

I suggest you give the two podcasts a listen and weigh in.

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, Embedded.com, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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