Untether from AWS


Mycelial vs. AWS IoT Architectures: Simplifying the Complex Web of Cloud Solutions

The rapid growth of IoT and Edge computing has spurred organizations to consider various options for data orchestration and management. Amazon Web Services (AWS) stands as a leader in this sector, offering a range of services under its AWS IoT umbrella. However, the platform's complexity often manifests as a labyrinthine architecture that can be both cost-intensive and complicated to maintain. Enter Mycelial, designed to streamline data operations from Edge to Cloud with reduced overhead and easier implementation. This blog post will contrast the complexities of using AWS for IoT data management with the simplicity offered by Mycelial.

Can you spot the money pit? Hint: Amazon charges _per_ PUT, COPY, POST, LIST request to S3. This architecture suggests writing EVERY SINGLE EVENT to S3! One Mycelial client reduced their AWS bill by 98% avoiding just this scenario. AWS charges you for the privilege of putting your data in their Cloud.

AWS IoT to AWS Redshift: The Journey of Data

Data Flow Through AWS Ecosystem

Imagine a scenario where an IoT sensor on a remote oil rig is capturing temperature data. The goal is to move this data to an AWS Redshift data warehouse for analysis.

  1. IoT Device to AWS IoT Core: Data from the IoT sensor is first sent to AWS IoT Core, which acts as the gateway for all device-related data.
  2. AWS IoT Core to AWS Lambda: From IoT Core, an AWS Lambda function is triggered to process this raw data.
  3. AWS Lambda to Amazon Kinesis: The processed data then moves to an Amazon Kinesis stream for real-time analytics.
  4. Amazon Kinesis to AWS Redshift: Finally, the Kinesis data is loaded into an AWS Redshift data warehouse for advanced analytics and reporting.
Maintenance and Skill Burdens

Each of these interfaces — IoT Core, Lambda, Kinesis, and Redshift — constitutes a separate element requiring specialized skills for day-to-day operations and troubleshooting. The need for deep understanding across these services can significantly add to the total cost of ownership (TCO) and extend implementation timelines.

The Cloud-Centric Nature of AWS Compute

In the AWS IoT to AWS Redshift data journey, it's crucial to note that all the significant computational work happens in the Cloud. From AWS Lambda functions to Kinesis stream processing to Redshift analytics, the architecture inherently requires your data to travel back and forth between your local devices and the Cloud.

This cloud-centric model has historical precedence; many early IoT and data stream architectures were designed at a time when local compute power was limited or expensive. However, in today's landscape where Edge devices are capable of increasingly advanced computations, this approach presents a critical limitation. Specifically, for applications involving local AI/ML, data ideally should be prepared and processed on the device itself to go directly from sensor to model. Shuttling data to and from the cloud not only introduces latency and potential security risks but is also inefficient in terms of bandwidth and costs.

Moreover, AWS has little incentive to expand its local compute capabilities. Their business model revolves around maintaining and increasing cloud usage; the more data you process in their cloud, the more you pay. This model discourages AWS from enabling efficient local compute solutions since their revenue comes from performing (often redundant) computing in the Cloud. In this sense, the AWS architecture is not just a technical design but also a business strategy that pushes for increased cloud dependency.

Mycelial: The Streamlined Alternative

Data Flow Simplified with Mycelial

Our guiding principal in building Mycelial is effortless simplicity. The Mycelial Client runs as a minuscule daemon on your Edge device, with virtually no overhead. You don't have to change a single line of code in your existing applications to start benefiting from Mycelial's capabilities. All it takes is a straightforward configuration file that outlines which directories or databases on the device should be securely exposed to other nodes within your network.

Once you point the Mycelial daemon to where your data resides on your device, your setup is complete. The data you’ve chosen to expose can now be seamlessly and securely transferred to any number of destinations. Whether you want to move data to your data warehouse, integrate it with other applications, or share it with other Edge devices, Mycelial has you covered.

But it gets better. Transferring data from a Mycelial Server in your local network to your data warehouse is now as simple as drag-and-drop. There's no need to dive deep into complicated API documentation or wrangle with clunky interfaces. It's all handled via a sleek, intuitive UI, liberating you from the traditional complexities associated with data management and allowing you to focus on what really matters—leveraging your data to drive insightful decisions and actions.

Reduced Complexity

By offering an end-to-end solution, Mycelial abstracts away the complexities of data orchestration, eliminating the need for multiple service integrations. With a single binary installation, Mycelial takes over the heavy lifting, providing an efficient, cost-effective route for your data.

The Question of Perverse Incentives

AWS and the Complexity Lure

Cloud providers like AWS have a vested interest in making their services indispensable to your operations. The more services you engage, especially complex, managed data services, the more you become reliant on their ecosystem. This lock-in not only allows them to charge premium fees for specialized services but also ratchets up costs for compute and storage.

Mycelial's Alternative Approach

In contrast, Mycelial aims to liberate organizations from this entanglement. By leveraging local compute resources—either on the device or on another node running the Mycelial client in your network—it avoids the trap of pay-per-use public Cloud resources. This results in a more predictable cost structure and decreased reliance on a single vendor's cloud ecosystem.

AWS IoT vs Mycelial

While AWS provides a comprehensive, albeit complex, ecosystem for IoT applications, Mycelial offers a simpler, more streamlined alternative. By removing multiple steps and interfaces from the equation, Mycelial simplifies the journey from IoT device to data warehouse. If you're looking for a way to escape the tangled maze that AWS IoT architectures can become, Mycelial may just be your roadmap to simplicity and cost-efficiency.