Think businesses have control of their data and storage needs - and understand the economic toll? Think again. Flooded with data, businesses are sinking deeper and deeper, submerged in a perpetual ‘data quicksand.’
If anything, they’re overloaded and understandably overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data that’s generated every day - and the pace is unrelenting.
Even worse, businesses and its data owners - the custodians tasked with managing and protecting the data - have become alienated from their own data.
In the Data Age 2025 report, sponsored by Seagate Technology, IDC predicts the global datasphere will grow to 180 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025, compared to 33 ZB in 2018 – an increase of 147 ZB which highlights the massive data swell on our doorsteps.
What’s more, the amount of new data created each year is currently growing at a compound annual growth rate of 26 per cent, with enterprise data projected to increase 42.2 per cent yearly over the next two years, according to Seagate’s Rethink Data report.
The bulk of this data will not be managed in-house, but across multiple public clouds, private clouds, and edge devices. Throw in the fog of multi-cloud complexity, and companies are scrambling to not only store data, but to easily access it for analysis with a predictable cloud economic cost.
Taking a closer look, organisations are already handling enormous masses of data (100TB and into the petabyte range) - and expect even more complexity - in a world with all the trappings of the digital age. In fact, the number of businesses creating, sharing, and accessing data between any device and the cloud are expected to continue to grow.
In an Industry 4.0 world, for example, more data is created at the micro, metro, and macro edges by all manner of devices which results in the scale of data generated or collected by an organisation easily swelling to multiple petabytes.
Undoubtedly, this kind of scale changes everything, from the economics of storing data and the flexibility of moving it to the foundational need for data security.
Indeed, it’s a common conundrum: As businesses grapple with bulging data, they’re encountering the barrier of economic unpredictability that comes with some common storage repositories.
Feeling the ‘data squeeze’
So, what does this mean for today’s businesses and IT leaders? For starters, enterprises seeking to store more data, and for extended periods, face increasing total cost of ownership (TCO) - so they need to put their thinking caps on.
Inevitably, CIOs are ‘feeling the squeeze’ – and must ask three questions on the storage front:
- How can I store the data - particularly the mostly unstructured data?
- How can I do more with the data without increasing costs?
- How can I keep storage bills down when storing enormous masses of data (100TB and above)?
Like all things in life, the reality is that economics overshadows value. This means as the TCO increases, and hard decisions are being made - with many organisations separated from their own data - lots of valuable data is being disregarded.
But this doesn’t have to be the case - there are options available to help companies take charge of their own data.
So, what’s the good news? Data at scale is no longer limited to private datacentres or centralised public clouds - instead data is becoming ubiquitous - and edge computing is changing the way companies can unlock value from data.
A wide range of data storage options have historically allowed enterprises to diversify their data storage solutions in a hybrid model between datacentres and public cloud. Additionally, mobile and IoT applications are also driving organisations to keep data and compute resources on the edge and to further diversify where data moves and lives at any given point in its lifecycle. On average, organization now periodically transfer about 36% of data from edge to core and the number is expected to grow to 57 per cent within two years.
Historically, the physical location of the datacentre has been a cornerstone of storage economics. But the opportunities brought by edge computing have disrupted that simple equation. To unlock the greatest possible value, the enterprise must now retain, manage, and leverage its data.
Breaking the disconnect - keys to success
In unlocking value from data, companies need to consider four main elements: data creation; data storage; data activation; and data movement. In fact, the key to success is economic transparency and predictability when data is created, stored, in motion and activated.
Let’s consider each step in more detail.
The biggest considerations on the data creation front focusses around when and where data originates. This can encompass everything from IoT devices feeding sporadic business-critical information from the edge to the constant stream of performance-monitoring data on the factory floor and anything in between.
Data storage focuses on persistence, reliability, and durability of data. The decisions here revolve around where and how data is stored. Data in motion strategies should aim for ease, speed and cost-efficiency.
This part of the plan involves examining how data is leveraged to further business objectives including when, where, and how data should be stored and used - and the operative word is ‘use.’ Too often, collected data may be ignored, pushed aside, and underutilised, skewing the economics of storage toward middling or worse returns on investment. Organizations must be able to capture the right data, identify it, store it where it is needed, and provide it to decision makers in a usable way.
Policies here should be designed to avoid cloud vendor lock-in, and to keep specific datasets and mass data from being trapped in silos, so that it can be freely accessed and moved as needed to specific cloud services or specific geographies where the data’s value can be leveraged at any given time.
What it all boils down to is making sure your data’s needs drive your storage configuration. Whether most data ends up in a public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud or elsewhere, make the transparent ease of access to your data the table stakes in all your discussions.
Better still, whatever configuration you choose and no matter your storage vendor, know that you can be in charge of your data.