Organizations today must deal with ever-growing amounts of structured and unstructured data. According to Maria Deutscher with SiliconAngle.com, “EMC sees the digital universe doubling in size every two years through 2020, multiplying tenfold from four zettabytes in 2013 to over 40 zettabytes by the turn of the decade.”
Roughly 25% of this is structured data and fits nicely into databases. Standard database engines can be used to quickly query and update this type of information. The challenge is the 75% of unstructured data. This data can include anything from documents, videos, images, social media data (think Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, etc.) and more. This type of data is more difficult to store and manage.
Quick and easy solutions
As the amount of data continues to grow, companies need to manage both structured and unstructured data and storage can become a problem. For example, the marketing department may want to store social media information about their competitors and potential customers for analysis. Alternatively, the legal department might want to store and index files related to cases they've worked since the company started and have easy access to all of it.
It’s easy for companies with access to cloud infrastructure to spin up more compute power using virtual machines and disk storage for extra data. The problem is that it’s easy for this much data growth (and additional related costs) to exceed the growth of the IT budget. This means that it’s not financially sustainable for companies to continue to expand without proper data management.
These types of quick and easy solutions can also cause issues at the data center level. While making the decision to spin up more compute power is easy, you must also make sure that your data center can handle the additional heat and power requirements created by high-density, virtualized machines.
Creating data policies
When you are building a house, you want to understand all of the materials that will go into making the structure. This is important not only to be able to estimate the cost of the house but also to understand how well it is built for the future.
Similarly, the data center you select is part of the foundation of your business. You need to pick the right data center to make sure it can handle future growth.
The same is true for the data in your organization. You should know where all of your data is stored, how it is related, accessed, captured, updated, etc.
These data policies should also apply to data that exists in the cloud. Consider the problems that may occur if you have some data stored on local servers that must frequently be joined with data stored in the cloud.
What happens when these two data sets frequently need to be combined or updated together? This can cause potential latency issues, which may require the data sets to be moved to the same location.
Using data migration to improve performance
Whether you have data that needs to be migrated to the cloud or some other reason, it’s important that it be handled by a person experienced in data migration. In the example above, moving data to the cloud may improve performance and make it scalable. Having a firm understanding of how much data is being stored, as well as future growth, is important to understanding the impact the cost will have on the organization.
Mastering the art of data management can require a great deal of research and a firm understanding of where all your data is stored. Once you understand the location of your data, you need to make sure each data center provides a proper foundation that can handle a high-density load. Together, these will allow you to focus on providing optimal performance that can be crucial to ensuring your data and compute power is cost effective, compliant, and scalable.
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