Information Technology storage professionals are looking at a grim situation. The amount of capacity they need to store their organizations’ data is beyond the scope of what they can deal with given their current resources.
The growth in data that they will have to deal with comes from several areas:
• The natural increase of the amount of data required for business continuance and expansion of current operations. This data represents the normal business requirements.
• New applications or business opportunities. While this is a positive indicator for the business, it represents a potentially significant increase in the amount of data under management.
• The machine-to-machine data from pervasive computing generates an overwhelming amount of data that most IT people have not had to deal with before. The data is used for “big data” analytics or business intelligence, and it will be left to IT to manage for the data scientists.
The problem is really one of scale. Because operational expenses typically are not scaled properly to address the management required for that amount of data, there is insufficient budget to handle the onslaught of data.
Storage professionals are looking at different approaches to address the increased demands. These include more efficient storage systems. Greater capacity efficiently – making better use of capacity – is a big help. So are storage systems that support consolidation of workloads onto one platform.
Data protection is a continuing problem. The process is viewed as a necessary requirement but not as a revenue-enhancing area. Consequently, data protection needs are dramatic but often lack the financial investment to accommodate the capacity increases. This means storage pros must either find products that can be more effective while fitting within the financial constraints or re-examining the entire data protection strategy by using technologies such as automated, policy-controlled archiving and data reduction.
Exploiting point-in-time (snapshot) copies on storage platforms for immediate retrieval demands, implementing backup to disk, and reducing the schedule for backups on removable media to monthly or less frequently are considerations for stretching backup budgets.
Storage professionals need to be open to new ideas for dealing with the massive influx of data. Without addressing the greatly increasing capacity demand, managed storage becomes an oxymoron.
(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).