Managing exponential storage growth as part of an effective data lifecycle management strategy
Forget about megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. When it comes to our insatiable thirst for
storage, IT staff these days tend to talk in petabytes (that’s 1,000 terabytes to you and me) and
work their way upwards. And not just in large enterprises either. Indeed, if it is not already,
storage is fast becoming the number one issue across organisations of all sizes as they grapple
with exponential data growth.
The problem, however, is not just one of capacity – if that was all it would be relatively easy to
handle. The length of time data needs to be stored is rising too, mostly to comply with ever
more onerous legislation. Added to which the sheer volume of information involved is exposing
weaknesses when it comes to data security, backup and archiving – weaknesses that are hard to address with conventional storage management solutions.
Added to this the nature of data is changing, with companies increasingly having to deal with
unstructured data streams – such as voice and video – which simply do not fit traditional
processing or storage models.
In this Computing white paper we look at the challenge of managing storage growth, and at
technologies that can be used to tame the associated costs – from data deduplication, thin
provisioning and data tiering through to specialist big data management tools.
We also look at how applying these technologies and establishing an effective data lifecycle
management (DLM) policy can actually deliver increased value, turning big data from a problem
needing to be resolved into an opportunity waiting to be exploited.
Storage: the demand grows
There is simply no getting away from it: ever since the first days of the floppy disk, demand for
storage has been growing at an alarming rate. This is a trend that looks set to continue as we
move into the era of solid state drives and beyond. Indeed, consult any vendor, independent
analyst or publication in the storage sector and they will confirm that, as consumers of digital
storage, we simply cannot get enough of the stuff.
Not convinced? Take a look at these quotes culled directly from a number of recent, well
respected and widely read, storage reports:
- “From 2010 to 2016, data will grow by a factor of 770%” Gartner 2012
- “By 2020, the amount of data in the world is predicted to reach 35 Zettabytes” CIO.com
- “In the next decade the amount of information managed by datacentres will increase by a factor of 50” IDC
Now, scary predictions are all very well and, if nothing else, serve as a wake-up call. However, in
order to get to grips with the issues involved, it is important to understand just what lies behind
this seemingly endless growth in storage demand and what companies can do to address it.
With that in mind, Computing ran an online survey of 130 professionals in large corporate
enterprises involved in buying, specifying, planning and managing IT systems. The aim of the
survey was to identify current pain points when it comes to storage growth, probable causes
plus awareness and take-up of possible solutions.