Feb 21, 2022 | Paul Reeve
Most organisations face the same issue with unstructured data growth. Solutions Review highlights some of the key findings by Gartner, Inc. in its 2021 Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage:
“End-users have reported unstructured data is increasing more than 30 percent year over year. Because of this, infrastructure, and operations (I&O) leaders are searching for extensible on-prem storage platforms that can address a growing number of digital business use cases with lower acquisition, operational, and management costs. Features I&O professionals are looking for include scalability, flexibility, life cycle management, ease of management, and analytics insights into data. Recently, users have been requesting cyber-resilient unstructured data solutions to prevent, detect, and recovery from ransomware attacks.”
This article will look at why storage assessments are a vital component in building a data management strategy that meets these demands.
Most organisations will store their data either on premises, in a hosted environment (either public or private cloud) or more likely in a hybrid environment, i.e., some combination of local and cloud storage. When looking at these options, organisations will need to consider several key factors:
Performance: Data must be accessible to users and applications in a timely manner. Productivity and competitiveness will be dependent on this. Data on premises is often a preferred solution for “hot” data needed for day-to-day business operations. SSD storage arrays may be deployed as a hot tier to ensure the highest performance for this data. These systems cannot therefore afford to be clogged up with data that is not immediately required.
Cost: Data should always live on the lowest-cost storage appropriate to its lifecycle. An archive tier with access times of hours may be entirely appropriate for compliance data that does not need to be accessed in the normal course of business.
Scalability: An organisation’s storage should be able to adapt quickly to business needs. A new business could find data rates increasing exponentially as it goes through initial growth while an established business may even find its data requirements diminishing over time. Hybrid environments in particular lend themselves to providing this level of flexibility.
Security: Whatever storage strategy an organisation decides to implement must take into account the security of its data.
Management: If storage and data grow in an unmanaged environment, it is inevitable that costs will get out of control and, more importantly, data will become very difficult to find. The per-TB management cost of the data will also therefore start to rise exponentially.
The essential first step in creating a data management strategy that meets these requirements is to have a detailed understanding of organisational data based on a data and storage assessment.
A comprehensive storage assessment should be able to provide information in several key areas:
How much data do I have: Perhaps not as obvious as it seems. Large organisations may have data across multiple sites and storage types. Understanding the total amount of data is a vital first step in planning a strategy. Having a breakdown of the total number of folders and files also helps determine the nature of the data and the overall management challenges.
Rate of data change: Clearly this is the most vital statistic in planning future storage scalability. Organisations need to know how much data is being created and/or modified at specific times and over time to plan storage provisioning.
Frequency of data access: Understanding how frequently data is accessed is the key to building a data lifecycle management strategy that strikes the right balance between storage costs and access time.
Data types: Understanding the different types of data stored will provide a useful insight into what applications are driving storage demand. It may also highlight rogue data that is not supposed to live on the organisation’s storage. Data management tools may be programmed to ignore this data.
A storage assessment will provide a custom data-driven foundation necessary to gain insights about an organisation’s storage and workflows. This is vital when designing a storage and data management strategy which can meet the organisation’s data management goals of performance, cost, scalability, and security.
Data insights gained through a storage assessment can and should be used as part of three key planning activities:
Tiger Technology have developed a self-service storage assessment tool that is designed to help customers get a comprehensive overview of the way they store and use data. This snapshot can be used to determine what their storage and data management needs are as part of their digital transformation journey.
The Tiger Technology Storage Assessment Report is designed to give a complete storage utilisation overview and provide data managers with the following key metrics:
The Tiger Technology Storage Assessment Report also allows storage and data managers to build a strategy for implementing the Tiger Bridge data management software solution in order to enhance workflows and maximize investment in storage.
Tiger Bridge is designed for the Hybrid Storage era. It allows organisations to seamlessly protect and extend their local high-performance storage to any public or private cloud or indeed other lower-cost on-premises NAS, tape or object storage, without any impact on users or applications.
It has a suite of policies that allow data managers to move data based on age or last-access times. It supports cloud archive tiers or tape for long-term and compliance data. Its Continuous Data Protection policy, versioning support, encrypted data transfer and anti-ransomware features along with Active Directory support provide complete data security.
Most importantly, Tiger Bridge does not modify the data in any way ensuring unrestricted access via any application and it is future-proof for use with Big Data, Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning tools.
Data is the lifeblood of all organisations. There is an inevitable increase in the demand for storing data while at the same time making it readily available, scalable, cost-effective to store & manage and secure. There is a need for management tools that support these key objectives.
However, it is impossible to build a strategy without a clear understanding of an organisation’s data and how it is used. Tiger Technology has responded to this by designing a comprehensive data management solution in Tiger Bridge and for providing a complementary storage assessment tool that means data managers can make informed decisions about how to implement Tiger Bridge to meet these objectives.