Businesses Struggle to Keep Up with Sheer Volume of Data
Title waves of digital information are becoming relevant to organizations at an unprecedented and ever-increasing pace, often to the dismay of groups that lack the technological infrastructure to handle and organize the data onslaught. Many businesses are overwhelmed by layers and layers of unstructured files containing anything from emails to pictures to videos to more files. Not only is this flood of information difficult to navigate, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to store, back-up, and protect. Because this chaos is at the level of company-wide access to relevant data, the issue can’t be isolated in the IT department- entire businesses can crumble as a result of poor data management.
This is especially true given that principal company or organization assets are digital in nature. The health care industry, for example, handles complex 2D and 3D imaging along with an enormous trove of patient data, financial records, and much more. Many health care organizations handle numerous petabytes of data at their datacenter floors every month.
And healthcare is only one of many sectors struggling to collect, store, and protect enormous volumes of unstructured data for future use. Media and entertainment companies encounter similar issues in their attempts to store high quantities of videos and pictures, as do government agencies.
Manufacturing is yet another realm where data storage struggles occur. Assembly lines can produce petascale telemetry datasets used to analyze and hopefully improve the manufacturing process; that can mean collecting, for example, hours of high-definition videos from safety and crash testing at an auto manufacturing facility, an arena where data collection has evolved from megabytes to gigabytes to petabytes of information to be stored.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is another technological movement gaining momentum across world economies; it enables regular consumers to monitor and measure the flow of data from large numbers of sensors embedded in a network. A number of organizations have shown interest in this development and its potential to offer the ability to generate data from any system that produces telemetry, be it a machine, car, or assembly line. That said, how is that data to be collected and organized? Will it be shipped and processed centrally or computed at the edge, where those devices are located? Data can’t just be pushed around on the internet forever, especially when a company has hit the level of petabytes of information. Once there’s enough data to organize, bandwidth needs become cost-prohibitive and larger mode of organization needs to form.
That’s why our era’s data storm has forced so many businesses and organizations to see value in IT architectures that can start small and grow with the volume of incoming data without losing efficacy. Many organizations are implementing software-defined technology that allows them to deploy servers with integrated, software-based storage with enough scaling potential to remain useful over time, even given the exponential growth of relevant data.
Automation and provisioning have also become increasingly valued assets in the realm of data control. Organizations cannot burden a single administrator with the full flow of data flooding most data centers, and storage must be automatically provisioned when possible. The datacenter floor must be a tailored ecosystem where all types of data can find their proper place without necessary human involvement; after all, it has become increasingly impossible to manage (and pay to manage) the data by hand.
Data protection is another matter, one for which many organizations are looking to disk-based backups due to the architecture’s potential to scale-out as needed. Many believe that a game-changing shift from hard disk drives to flash storage is underway, but the current industry reliance on hard drives will likely hang around for the next few years to come.