It’s become clear that traditional IT systems are not equipped to handle modern unstructured data storage.
Not only are businesses using larger volumes of data that need accessing, but the data is no longer consistently in text format. Companies need to store and manage data that is contained in videos, emails, images, audio files, and even social media posts. Gartner and IDC estimate that more than 80% of new data is now unstructured.
Businesses need to be able to keep and analyze that data, and in some cases, data storage is required due to compliance issues. In addition to a variety of formats for data, it is also arriving from many sources, including cloud applications, internet of things (IoT) endpoints, and from machine learning technology.
Companies are finding that a single approach to data storage, whether it is on-site or cloud storage, cannot accommodate the varying demands and formats involved. There are many considerations, including data gravity, where it is being used and generated, as well as security, compliance, and performance issues. How data is moved and stored impacts the network and its potential for latency and congestion.
On-Site Storage: Traditionally, companies have handled on-site storage using a hierarchical approach in a server or accessing a network-attached storage (NAS) solution. This works well for smaller data sets, but space becomes a challenge with larger files.
The benefits to on-site storage include low-latency, improved security, and control for compliance issues. Network teams know their own systems and have a higher level of visibility into where files are stored.
Cloud Storage: For some types of files, cloud storage solutions are ideal because there is little-to-no initial startup cost and essentially endless scalability. Cloud storage providers are able to handle large files with unstructured data. The downsides of cloud storage include the potential for increased latency and hidden costs such as data egress charges. There also may be some management challenges, including problems around visibility and control that can affect compliance concerns.
Hybrid Data Storage: Many providers are now offering a hybrid solution that allows companies to gain the advantages of on-site and cloud data storage. This solution addresses the concerns around unstructured data and gives companies the flexibility to store structured and unstructured data in ways that are most accessible while balancing security and management optimization.
Hybrid data storage offers the potential to make decisions according to workloads, retaining NAS solutions for high-performance application data access, and utilizing cloud storage for lower-performance applications.
Hybrid data storage still has some weak points, most notably that cloud business models still function on data transfer charges. This nearly guarantees bloated cloud storage costs for companies utilizing a hybrid model, but it may still offer the right combination of solutions for unstructured and structured data.
If your company is considering the best way to handle a growing set of unstructured data, contact us at Safari Solutions. With a holistic approach to your IT environment, we can assist you in evaluating the right data storage solutions that fit with your overall technology plans for the future.