Re-thinking NAS to Control Unstructured Data

Designing a storage architecture scalable enough to hold all of an organization’s data is a challenge in and of itself. But unstructured data is doing more thant just grow, it is also becoming more varied in type and it is becoming more important to organizations. In fact a recent ZDNET survey finds that 85 percent of CIOs say that their ability to manage unstructured data directly impacts their ability to service customers.

The sources of unstructured data are numerous. It can come from systems generating log data to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices capturing real-time information. Applications like Hadoop, Splunk and Spark analyze the data. Machines can also generate data like images and video that need capturing now for presentation later. And, of course, there is data humans generate like documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Not only does unstructured data storage need to store a vast amount of data they need to store a wide variety of data types.

In addition to the creation of more data, there is also a legitimate reason to keep the data for much longer than ever. Some organizations literally want to preserve their data forever. The justification for these long retention times is data monetization. Organizations are using old data to create new products, improve processes and make better decisions. Long term data preservation requires cost efficient data storage, continuous data validation and advanced search capabilities.

Finally all this data needs to be accessible. Part of the data monetization process is rapidly analyzing or reproducing data to leverage it in decision making, product design or direct creation of a product. While the data may have been at rest for years, once needed users don’t want to wait days to recover it.

This variety of sources, retention policies and recovery expectations creates another management challenge for IT: managing NAS sprawl. Most organizations buy a specific NAS or object storage system for each data type, retention requirement and/or data access requirement. Not only does the cost of storing unstructured data add up so does the cost of managing the systems.

IT professionals need to re-think their NAS strategy and take a hard look at the file systems that are beneath them. In our on demand webinar “End NAS Sprawl – Gain Control Over Unstructured Data” we dive deep on the file systems that lie beneath NAS systems so that the next NAS you select will be your last.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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