Top Data Storage Challenges

Big data capacity, performance, and management challenges require that companies rethink their storage options. Consider software-defined storage’s benefits.

Big data just keeps getting bigger. According to IDC, by 2020 the digital universe will expand from 4.4 zettabytes to 44 zettabytes. Technology trends like mobility and the internet of things (IoT) are generating tons of data that can fuel crucial business decisions.

For instance, every time a consumer uses a mobile device to interact with your company, they reveal information about their needs and preferences. And every IoT device armed with a sensor provides information about how consumers use products.

The volume of data entering companies from these devices overwhelms storage capacities. Not only that, but this data needs to be organized properly so that it can be retrieved and processed in a timely manner.

Traditional hardware-based storage solutions may not be up to the challenge. Hard disk drives take time to provision. They also lack the performance and data management capabilities required to process and place information where it needs to be.

Data Variety Challenges Companies are challenged by the amount of data streaming into their systems and the multiple varieties of data they need to contend with. Traditional storage is prepared to deal with structured data. Structured data comes from spreadsheets and database tables, so it is easy to classify and organize. But when it comes to unstructured data, which makes up 80% of new data according to Forbes, management becomes difficult.

And the growth of unstructured data shows no sign of stopping. IDG estimates unstructured data grows at a rate of 62% per year and predicts it will make up 93% of data by 2022. Unstructured data is made up of text, video, images, and audio that won’t fit into the columns and rows in a relational database. This data comes in the form of Word documents, PowerPoints, instant messages, emails, social media posts, and many more. Within the healthcare industry, medical records are largely made up of unstructured data in the form of doctor’s notes and diagnostic scans. Companies rely on surveillance videos for security. While structured data may be important for tracking trends, unstructured data explains why these trends are occurring. For instance, comments in social media conversations reveal the sentiments behind decisions your customers make, as well as their thoughts about your products and services. To take advantage of these insights, your business needs storage capable of organizing unstructured data so it can be accessed quickly. Data Velocity Challenges Unstructured data is being generated at a rapid rate. For instance, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

With the rise of eCommerce, customers generate data during every interaction, not just when they make a purchase. As consumers browse and research products before making a decision, they provide information that can help your business understand them and their needs.

Connected IoT devices have sensors and beacons that monitor the status and location of equipment, providing a constant stream of information. If your storage infrastructure doesn’t have the performance power to handle this increasingly rapid influx of data, your system can develop crippling bottlenecks. High velocity data demands super low latency and lightning-fast input/output rates.

Rethinking Storage for Big Data To meet the challenges of big data volume, variety, and velocity, your business needs to adopt a new mindset towards storage. Provisioning more hard disk drives to handle rising capacity needs isn’t going to help your company store unstructured data more efficiently or solve the problem of performance demands. The resulting server sprawl ends up eating up your budget with operating expenses like energy and cooling.

Software-defined (SDS) storage is the answer to the big data capacity, performance, and management problems your company faces. SDS separates storage from the hardware layer so you can use more economical commodity hardware while achieving your high-performance and capacity goals.

SDS offers data management capabilities that can detect bottlenecks and transfer mission-critical data to new flash storage. Built-in deduplication and replication helps to optimize your storage.

IBM Spectrum Storage provides intelligent data tiering that can reduce infrastructure costs up to 90% by automatically moving data to more economical storage. Spectrum Storage also enables your business to organize unstructured data effectively by providing a bridge to object-based storage. Object storage quickly identifies and locates unstructured data through metadata.

As an IBM partner, Vicom can help your business make the transition to software-defined storage so you can harness your big data and create a competitive edge.

Gil Rolon