Overwhelmed by the amount of data your business has to deal with? You're not alone.
According to IDC, the universe of data doubles in size every two years and is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020 (a ten-fold increase from the amount of data in 2013). Companies are collecting all this data and then mining it to make predictions and analyze past performance with the goal of improving business results. All of which requires a tremendous amount of capacity and storage space.
Your data is unique to your business and a huge part of your competitive differentiation. So it's critical to understand how data fits into your business's strategic direction. You must also overcome three key challenges that IT organizations face regarding data storage — volume, the types of data stored and backing it up.
- Volume: Organizations are creating and collecting more data than ever before. That includes information such as customer behavior and buying habits, data points from sensors or devices connected to the Internet of Things, and information like weather data, geographic information systems (GIS) data and other publicly available datasets. The challenge for storing this type of data is volume — the more data you have, the more space you need to store it.
Companies divide data into primary data, which needs to be accessible for operations and analysis, and secondary data, which can be archived and vaulted. But to squeeze more value out of the information they own — and to make historical data available for analysis to better understand trends and make predictions — companies need more active, accessible storage space.
- Data types: Unstructured data presents its own set of challenges. This kind of data — such as images, videos and social media postings — is growing exponentially and represents a gold mine of information for companies that know how to analyze the nontraditional datasets. But because this isn't "conventional" numerical data, it requires much more storage capacity than traditional data.
- Backup: All of the data that organizations own or use also must be replicated so that it's available if the system breaks or needs to be repaired. Some organizations may back up their databases every couple of minutes, which at least doubles storage needs.
Best Practice: Flexibility
A lot of businesses are feeling intimidated by the above challenges. The wrong thing to do is ignore the issue of storage. The right thing to do is adopt a flexible, hybrid storage approach — a combination of cloud, on-premises and flash storage to meet your needs. It also means having APIs that work with your cloud storage to ensure the data is available whenever you need it.
Data is the foundation of business today, and the amount of data companies deal with can be overwhelming to the IT organization and the business as a whole. To be able to realize the most value, and stand out from your competition, it's critical to account for data storage solutions in your business strategy. Doing it right is what you need to do to succeed.