The pandemic compelled many businesses to change their approach to data storage and management in 2020. In response to the new normal, organizations accelerated adoption of hybrid storage & cloud, restructured storage operations, and took several other steps to be resilient and operational. Also, as more and more business shifted to remote operations, data security became a key priority for organization of all scales and sizes. Many of these changes are likely to persist in the coming year and continue to impact even after the situation normalizes.
As we begin the new year with new hopes and expectations, in business and life, organizations need to capitalize on new emerging trends in data storage and management space in a post-COVID-19 world.
Increasing significance of hierarchical security
As hyperscale software ecosystems mature, applications will be developed and deployed on smaller “atomic units” for businesses with inadequate connectivity infrastructure. Cloud native applications will run in points of presence or colocation facilities around the world. This distributed asset partnership model will require strengthened data protection – at flight or at rest – at each step of the process.
Advice for business leaders: Businesses must ramp up data encryption to avoid both external and insider threats. Although, it might not be mandatory in a particular industry today, it might be the most critical requirement in the future. It is recommended to move data-at-rest to encrypted disks as soon as possible to ensure there are no disruptions in the future if the requirement sneaks up on you.
A broader adoption of object storage by enterprises
With explosion of useful data, object store is becoming the standard for mass capacity and offers advantages over traditional file stores. These include prescriptive metadata, scalability, and no hierarchical data structure, enabled by object storage that provides greater intelligence incorporated in data sets. Storage types include block, file, and object. Block is critical for performance-sensitive and mission critical applications while file has serviced legacy applications and provided robust architecture for years. Object storage provides scale and performance for new application developments in a symbiotic fashion. Many legacy file applications are also migrating to object storage infrastructure to take advantage of the economies of scale that object storage enables. Advice to business leaders: Organization should focus on hiring object storage developers and specialists to enable quick augmentation and displacement of file storage and improve economic efficiencies and scalability. These employees can increasingly build workflows assuming object storage interfaces.
A greater adoption of composability
Composability is the ability to build applications by separating systems into independent units and combining with other independent component parts – hardware and software. Kubernetes — the open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized application — is at the core of this trend. Open source is the future of application development because it enables a much larger community to work on the problems that challenge many industries and it also allows for domain specific solutions that are leveraged from the open architectures. Hardware composability will optimise the software and business needs. Advice to business leaders: Businesses need to adapt composability, through containers and Kubernetes, for their data centers to drive easier deployment and redeployment of resources without requiring complex memory, and storage configurations.
Tiering in mass storage deployment (locate hot data on flash and all else on disk).
Heterogeneous memory with different levels (registers, shared, and global) are gaining traction among business to store valuable data. Registers, have low latency and low memory while Global storage has high latency and offers large memory. Data storage OEMs are providing software interfaces that provide tiered memory and program optimized solutions including SSDs and HDDs. Business aim to avail storage devices that high-performing and cost efficient giving traction to the current tiering trend. With the advent of additional technologies (such as storage class memories), the need for architectures that can extract the most value from all classes of storage is paramount.
Advice to business leaders: Data centers must deploy hierarchical tiering — in which hot data resides on high-cost, high-performance media and less frequently accessed data resides on affordable, mass capacity media. Cognitive software has become increasingly adept at identifying hot and cold data and migrating it accordingly. By instituting heterogeneous media, businesses can improve performance or paying what is necessary for storage.
Formative AI Increases the Usefulness of Data
There has been an unprecedented increase in data creation, including new and archived, allowing users to mine additional information using AI and machine learning. Enterprises must be prepared to store more data than ever to train models, for mining of critical information, and for archiving data given that its useful life is likely extending. Formative AI is a means through which data becomes more insightful and relates to the tiering The advantages are speed (since the data is moved to fast tier automatically) and cost (by storing on an inexpensive disk in an easy to access format until data is needed).
Advice to business leaders: Businesses today should start saving as much of their data as possible to ensure future analyses for unprecedented events, such as COVID-19, can be done with the best possible training data. Using machine learning techniques organization can analyze ever larger data sets to extract ever more accurate insights.
By Sameer Bhatia, Director Asia Pacific Consumer Business Group and Country Manager SAARC & India, Seagate Technology
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