Effective data analysis can be a valuable differentiator for businesses. Are you making the most of this opportunity?
Companies today are inundated with data, and the ability to analyze and use it to make predictions and set strategic direction is unprecedented. IT organizations thus face the ongoing issue of how to store the data so that it's accessible when needed by the business. The business side, however, often looks at data storage as something that costs money and takes up space.
Part of the challenge is the type of data that businesses are creating and own. About 75% of the data that businesses manage is structured data — i.e. traditional numerical data that's relatively easy to analyze. Unstructured data, however, is a growing issue. This data, which includes images, videos and social media postings, takes up much more storage space than the traditional variety.
Businesses are working to analyze and extract value from all their data, and are demanding that the IT organization make this data available whenever it's needed. So how do you find ways to store the data to ensure it's always available the moment someone in the business calls for it?
Here's a look at three options that you should consider for your storage mix: flash storage, software defined storage and object storage.
Flash storage: Initially designed for mobile devices, flash storage is a non-volatile storage medium that presents three main benefits over traditional hard drive storage:
- It's more resilient than hard drives with spinning disks. Hard drives can more easily be corrupted or erased, even simply by being dropped. Because flash storage doesn't rely on a spinning disk, it's not affected by physical movement.
- It's denser storage. Flash drives can store more data in the same amount of space as a hard drive and enable you to handle everything in a smaller footprint. You might even be able to avoid adding space to your data center.
- It's designed to work seamlessly with analytics programs. Because this ability is built in, flash storage won't slow down the system while looking for data. That means it allows the business to analyze data faster and more accurately.
Software defined storage: Traditionally, businesses had to purchase storage software and hardware together. Now, software defined storage enables businesses to separate the hardware and software in order to use the physical infrastructure in the most optimal way. Since it's more efficient to manage storage across the physical infrastructure, upgrading storage hardware isn't required. Software defined storage is also flexible for managing different brands and models of hardware and working with cloud storage when using the right APIs.
Object storage: Cloud storage is mostly object storage, and it works very well for many different file types, including unstructured data. With object storage, the parameters aren't defined, so you can store anything as an object. This type of storage is especially beneficial for unstructured data, because it allows you to search the metadata. It also offers fast searching and the ability to scale indefinitely, which makes it useful for the large amounts of unstructured data businesses are collecting.
A Strategic Investment
Storage is a strategic investment — it's the foundation of analytics and utilization of databases. Choosing which type(s) of storage to use is a mission-critical, complex undertaking.
With careful thought and analysis, your IT organization can make this choice on its own. Alternatively, you can work with a third party to examine the options, anticipate needs and help sell the idea to management. After all, investing in storage is investing in the future of your business