We’re living in the middle of a data tsunami. According to figures recently published by IBM, 90% of data in the world today has been created in the past two years. And there’s no sign of it slowing down. Data creation is mushrooming.
Here’s a simple way of looking at it. Not so long ago, consumers were storing MP3s and photos on their computers. A typical MP3 file takes up around 5Mb (with an album reaching around 80Mb), a typical photo comes in at around 3Mb or 4Mb. But nowadays people are downloading and storing films which typically take up around 1Gb and a lot of devices, such as smartphones and tablets, include the ability to take HD video, with a typical clip averaging 300Mb or so. That represents an increase of between 100 and 200 times the original storage requirements.
Businesses are also experiencing a data explosion fuelled by a number of factors, most prominent of which is the increasing burden of data retention regulations. The waste is significant. According to Gartner, 70% of the data stored in a typical enterprise has not been accessed within a year. Despite this, the answer for consumers and enterprises to the massive increase in data creation has been (and continues to be) to “throw more storage” at the problem.
Like most things, the value of a piece of data reduces over its lifetime. Most organisations seek to reflect this by managing the migration of that data to cheaper forms of storage over that lifetime. But one unintended consequence of this approach is that it often becomes cheaper to store data beyond its lifetime than to try and delete it because the amount of time and energy devoted to eradicating the data can prove to be uneconomical compared to the cost of keeping it.
For example, one company found it was able to delete almost 1PB of data (5% of its stored data), representing a saving of millions of dollars in legacy storage costs. However, on closer examination, it calculated that the cost expended in devoting the resource of 15 people for four months on the project was almost as high as the final saving in storage costs.
If it becomes as expensive to delete the data as to keep it, the temptation is to opt to retain it, if only because it saves the business having to devote resources and people, who could be better employed elsewhere, to the process of data elimination. Added to that is the peace of mind of knowing that if no data is deleted, there is no chance that a potentially valuable piece of data will be deleted by mistake.
The unintended consequence of this situation is businesses find themselves throwing even more storage at the problem to cater not only for the increasing amount of data that they create but also for the increasing level of data they end up preserving. The problem for many is that while the cost is pretty much the same to keep the data as to delete it, they still face an increasing cost because have to buy more storage to hold it.
In these circumstances, the onus is on businesses to try and reduce their storage overheads, but too often the cost of dealing with legacy storage vendors is high and the cost of trying to break away from their lock-in to alternatives can be extremely expensive. The best solution would be an enterprise storage solution that would not be subject to the “hardware tax” imposed by legacy vendors but would leave businesses free to add cheaper industry standard products while continuing to use their existing assets.
A solution that is based on open source software could help enterprise data storage users to break away from proprietary hardware and software. In many instances, enterprises can reduce their storage costs by as much as 70-80% while enjoying superior functionality and flexibility. An open solution works seamlessly in heterogeneous storage environments and provides unparalleled storage management and data quality. It’s also cloud ready and virtualisation ready.
With companies under pressure to add more and more storage to their infrastructure to provide the capacity to match their data creation and storage requirements, a solution that is based on open source software is perfectly placed to deliver the more flexible, easier to manage and lower cost means to meet those challenges
Tags: BC/DR, Compliance, Deduplication, Disk/RAID/Tape/SSDs, Ethernet Storage, SAN/NAS, Tiered Storage