How edge computing transformed marine biology research at OSU

December 13, 2018

By: Alicia Hagan

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Written by Macy Bayern, ZDNet
October 1, 2018

With the global Internet of Things (IoT) market expected to exceed $724.2 billion by 2023, many organizations are going to be searching for a way to process all of their IoT data quickly, and in a manner that allows them to derive real business value. But the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) at Oregon State University already found an answer: The Amazon Web Service (AWS) Snowball Edge.

Edge computing is the collection and analysis of data at the site where the data is generated — or at the ‘edge’ of the enterprise network. The technology offers a means of analyzing large volumes of data in near real-time, allowing organizations to gain data from IoT devices remotely.

AWS Snowball Edge is a portable device that can transfer such data into AWS for analysis, or process the data locally thanks to its onboard compute power. With the ability to store up to 100TB of data, the Snowball Edge is a durable, portable, secure powerhouse of a storage device. And HMSC used it to their advantage.

One of HMSC’s major research projects is the study of plankton dynamics in the ocean, which involves using an underwater microscope to capture continuous images of the organisms. The biological oceanographers then identify the organisms in each frame, which sounds simple, but not when you have 60 or 80 terabytes worth of data, said Christian Briseno-Avena, a researcher at HMSC who worked directly with the integration of AWS Snowball to their systems.

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