Accelerating Digital Transformation with the Right Data Strategy

(Article Contributed by Paul Bruton, ‎Business Director – Data Intelligence of Hitachi Vantara)

The noted futurist and author, Alvin Toffler, famously described technology as the “great growling engine of change.” He was right. And, in today’s fast-paced and increasingly complex business environment, it is growling more loudly than ever!

 

Simply maintaining the status quo is no longer enough. Corporate IT is under immense pressure to deliver file services solutions that go beyond the basic functions legacy network-attached storage (NAS) platforms have to offer.

 

This is complicated by a host of variables, including worker mobility. According to Gartner 28% of corporate data already resides exclusively on laptops, smartphones and tablets. The challenge for any organization is gaining control and visibility of these data sets to govern and manage them in line with corporate policy. Add to this Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments, compliance requirements, metadata-driven policy management, collaboration and affinity for cloud architectures, and you begin to understand the intricacies involved.

 

On top of all that is the increasing threat from cyber-attacks. According to Trend Micro Incorporated, out of the 82 million ransomware threats blocked in the first half of this year, those targeting APAC entities accounted for 36% of all attacks, the highest of all regions.

 

It is no wonder that enterprises need a modernized file services solution capable of meeting today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

 

Counting the Cost

 

Creating all this data is an expensive proposition, but it’s nothing compared to the total cost of ownership over time, which puts a tremendous strain on IT teams.

 

The annual costs for traditional backup are becoming untenable. Traditional infrastructure also requires the labour-intensive management of file servers and NAS appliances for things like protection, performance, migrations, capacity planning, which makes it very costly to maintain.

 

According to Veritas, in an average ten petabyte environment, 41% of data is stale – meaning it has not been modified or touched in the past three years – and organizations are spending over US$20 million per year just to manage this data!

 

When you factor in the cost of protecting this data with traditional backup solutions, which in APAC is in the order of US$4,000-8,000 per terabyte, it’s clear that the operational and financial challenges of continuing with these ageing technologies will have a significant impact on the organization.

 

The reality is that, unless these challenges are addressed now, they will become the dominant cost category within the total IT financial picture.

An example from a real Hitachi Vantara customer

 

 

Understanding Objects

 

Solving this file serving problem is the catalyst for moving to a modern architecture. Corporate IT needs to be able to deliver file services solutions that push beyond their legacy NAS platforms if they are to deliver on the promises of digital transformation.

 

What’s needed is a “next generation NAS” capable of meeting the business’ needs while reducing complexity and costs. To achieve this, many organization are leveraging a secure object store, to significantly lower the total cost of ownership of their File Services.

 

The cost saving from object storage comes from its next-generation cloud-based architectures – that automate integrity checking and self-healing, removing the need for traditional backup. It can also scale seamlessly and automatically replicate off-site and enables users to leverage off-the-shelf hardware to scale to hundreds of petabytes in an easily managed environment while securing their corporate data.  Add to this the ability to reduce physical capacity requirements by 40-50% with global deduplication and compression, and object storage becomes a compelling option to modernize how organizations control unstructured data growth.

 

Achieving Agility and Efficiency

To access the agility, as well as the operational efficiency, required to survive in today’s markets, businesses need to leverage as many enablers as possible. And, with so much enterprise data residing as unstructured data, that means organizations must modernize their corporate file services and build a holistic data strategy.

 

Solutions like the Hitachi Content Platform are the ideal object stores on which to build the right data foundation. It not only offers all the advantages of a simplified data center, it also enables users to deliver on four key business enablers:

 

  • Modernizing Data Protection,
  • Modernizing Data Services
  • Modernizing Data Governance
  • Activating Data Intelligence

 

Hitachi Vantara’s object storage solution also allows users to orchestrate the movement of data to public clouds, cost-effectively and automatically, whilst maintaining control of data security.  It also has the ability to securely connect laptops, desktops and mobile devices for enterprise file sync & share. Object storage can also be extended to remote & branch offices, VDI & non-VDI environments, with built-in multi-tenant data management and governance.

 

What’s more, this system is integrated into the unique Hitachi Content Intelligence engine – a powerful tool for analyzing, aggregating and indexing data from almost any source.

 

Less Noise, More Information!

 

Ultimately, the equation is simple. Adopting a holistic approach to data management addresses the challenges of exploring and discovering relevant, valuable, and factual information across siloed repositories. This is data intelligence!

 

It enables organizations to explore structured and unstructured data, regardless of where it resides, using comprehensive natural-language search, real-time analytics, and automated indexing to ensure relevant business insights are surfaced quickly and are actionable.

 

The content can then be transformed, searched, governed and mobilized. As it goes through this process, the “data” is transformed to “information” which then can be used by consumers – such as employees, or distributed to remote users, offices or devices and fed into analytics tools.

 

In the end, that is the best way for modern organizations to keep the growling that Toffler mentioned down to manageable levels, and achieve their digital transformation goals.

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