The Taming of Unstructured data

10-Dec-2019 03:34 PM

Posted by Adrian Johnson, Director - Technology, Technobind

“Data is the new oil” is probably one of the most repeated analogies that you have heard in the enterprise tech world. Rightly so! Data is indeed the most valuable business asset which powers nearly all the technology-driven initiatives of an organization. However, unlike oil, data is not really a finite resource. In fact, data volumes have been growing at an exponential rate in the last few years, making it literally infinite and permanent.

This explosive growth in data, especially unstructured data, is in fact the biggest challenge that organizations face while trying to store, manage and analyse it.

Imagine this: unstructured data is growing at the rate of 62 percent per year! According to IDC, 93 percent of all stored data will be unstructured by 2022. These are indeed overwhelming figures for anyone dealing with data in one way or the other.

Organizations are struggling to deal with the deluge of data that gets generated from non-traditional sources like social media, connected IoT devices and many more. Above 50 percent of unstructured data are machine generated.

Is all data important?

Interestingly, a large part of that unstructured data — as much as 70 percent — is inactive or less-valuable than the active datasets that support the actual business activities.

What organizations typically tend to do is to add more hardware to the problem. They value data so much that they save most of it !.At the same time, most organizations buy expensive storage to store huge volumes of inactive data that bring no business value to the table. Not to mention, this also makes the storage environment more complex and difficult to manage.

They are unsure of what data is most important. Even if they understand it well, breaking away from the current storage vendor is a painful decision. So they continue to buy more hardware and get into the vicious cycle of vendor lock-in.

Combine this with ineffective backup/recovery strategies and the move to cloud, we have a fairly complicated and heterogeneous approach to data management in many organizations.

Moving away from legacy tools

Under ideal conditions, it makes sense for organizations to move the less critical data to less expensive storage. This would free up storage for new data, postpone additional storage purchase and reduce operational costs. But this is often easier said than done, because this is not what the current data management tools in the market do.

Managing unstructured data requires organizations to have great data and economic insights. It has to be more than just a hardware-to-hardware strategy and legacy data management solutions fall short in many aspects.

Most legacy solutions treat structured and unstructured data sets in similar ways. The fact is, user organizations have different priorities when it comes to unstructured data — data insights and data accessibility being the topmost ones.

Many infrastructure partners that we work with often wonder how they can help their customers come out of these self-induced complexities. This is where we believe that solutions from companies like Moonwalk Universal become relevant.

Moonwalk’s unstructured data management tools address most of these gaps with a software-defined approach. It also strongly promotes interoperable solutions, which takes away one of the biggest concerns that customers today have with proprietary tools.

Data environments are changing very rapidly. For the same reason, data management solutions that worked with yesterday’s predictable data sets are not going to fit into today’s unstructured data dominated environments. This is a great opportunity for partners who are specialized in data and related domain.

Organizations have realized that a failure to address today’s unstructured data growth will have serious consequences on the business and top line. They are looking at new-age integrated solutions to address the evolving challenges introduced by the massive data growth.