Data storage is not a new issue. It’s not so long ago we had to change floppy discs halfway through saving the annual budget plan.
The problem is, we are simply producing more and more data. The digital universe is expected to double in size every 18 months. Five times as much digital information will be created in 2012 than last year – that’s just after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Interestingly, 70% of the data is created by individuals, but enterprises are responsible for the storage, security, accessibility and compliance of 85% of the digital universe. So while individuals and employees are saving too many copies of their information, it’s actually a problem for the IT enterprise.
Managing this exponential growth is the challenge, and enterprises have addressed the issue in different ways in the short history of information technology. Floppy discs, hard disks, CDs and DVDs have all had their day in the sun.
But now there’s a new spanner in the works: budget cuts! Like Boxing Day shoppers, we seek value for our money. Sure, we can create the space, but we need to find less expensive places to store all the stuff the enterprise creates.
Let’s start with managing data. The real impact of data growth is cost and security. Now is the time to engage with your information portfolios and decide what is necessary and what is not, so you can control data growth by storing it more efficiently.
The good news is, there is a lot of new technology in the data management arena – data de-duplication is one. Another is the storage revolution, as evidenced by new technologies that reduce, simplify, and add reliability and scalability to data management.
There’s also virtualisation. It’s probably common knowledge that virtualisation and virtualised storage can reduce your hardware spend, but less well recognised are the savings in energy that virtualisation can bring to a business.
Energy provisioning and consumption are increasingly important. New approaches to IT and storage management mean enterprises can achieve optimal power management, cutting operational costs, minimising the risk of power-related outages and reducing the environmental footprint.
Then there’s the cloud. Most analysts talk of the growth in cloud, and they’re right of course. But with increased pressure on budgets, enterprises are using cloud in new ways, not just for fine tuning.
We are seeing massive growth in organisations selecting cloud services instead of building and running their own infrastructure. It is common practice to lease business assets – so why not your data storage?
Finally there’s unified storage, which makes it possible to run and manage files and applications from a single device, consolidating file-based and block-based access in a single storage platform. You can imagine the benefits: better flexibility, space savings and reduced costs.
It’s a simple formula: investment = cost savings + increased efficiency. Why? Because with data growing at a staggering rate of between 40 and 70% every year, you simply have to be forward-thinking and agile.
The way we manage our data has changed dramatically in a few short decades. Increasingly, more and more technologies are squeezing data into one box. We’ve moved from disks to the cloud. And the drive to cut costs has fuelled some amazing advances.