Overcoming the Unstructured Data Management Gap

Hardly a week goes by where an IT professional doesn’t hear “storage is growing,” to which they probably roll their eyes and think “no kidding.” What IT needs is more than just appreciation of the problem is a solution to it. Most of the time, the company making the “storage is growing” claim, is a hardware vendor, whose use of the statement is to get you to purchase their storage hardware. The organization may very well need more hardware, but what it really needs is software or a service to put that hardware to good use.

Most of the storage growth in data centers is caused by the growth in unstructured data (files). This data set includes among other things; user files, images, video, IoT data, log data and sensor data. IT professionals need a plan for unstructured data. They need to protect it, and they need insight to make sure the data is on the most cost/performance appropriate storage possible. The problem is that most solutions only focus on meeting one aspect of these needs and often that focus uses outdated techniques.

Data protection for example, because of the growth in unstructured data capacity and number of files, now typically resorts to image-based backups. Image backups are fast but lack granularity. IT is sacrificing insight for speed. Archive and other data management solutions, however, don’t provide the data protection capabilities to make sure unstructured data is completely protected. IT is sacrificing speed for insight.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that data management needs to change to meet the “storage is growing” problem. Data management needs to encompass protection, archive and mobility so that point in time copies of data are continuously made, storage costs are driven down and resources like the public cloud are used effectively. These capabilities are available from individual point products, but IT teams need an integrated solution.

The problem is that most attempts at consolidated data management often lead an organization to consolidating on a specific file system or even hardware platform. These attempts typically fail because they are too big of a commitment. Use cases or new technology appear that a consolidate solution doesn’t support and the organization creates a stand-alone environment for that use case. Eventually the organization has a data center full of one-off use cases. These consolidation attempts also mean that the organization has to stop using its current investment in hardware and software. Finally, these solutions need IT to migrate all data into them.

StorageSwiss Take

There is a gap in how unstructured data is protected and managed. Protection processes don’t provide insight and archive processes don’t provide full protection. Neither process addresses the ever-increasing need for mobility between on-premises and the public cloud. In our latest on demand webinar we discuss the unstructured data problem and how to address it. Sign up now and get a copy of our latest white paper “Evolving from Unstructured Data Protection to Complete Data Management,” available for download as soon as the webinar starts playing.

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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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