The words used to describe the increase in global data volumes aren’t pretty. Overload. Onslaught. Even explosion. IT leaders are feeling battered as their organizations collect more data than they know what to do with. Industry watchers predict 2018 will bring a wave of bigger, faster flash storage, hyperconverged infrastructure, and software-defined storage to help manage the influx of data headed their way. These solutions are vital, but they overlook a core problem. For many enterprises today, data is more a cost center than a revenue generator.
Bits and Bytes Get Expensive
IT is being asked to hoard vast quantities of information. That means maintaining data centers, entering into cloud agreements, and keeping staff on hand to care and feed an ever-more complex hybrid infrastructure. It’s an expensive undertaking. Backup processes, always critical, have also come back into the limelight with ransomwear attacks jeopardizing access to proprietary information. Enterprises are responding with more backups in more places, along with more encryption to protect the larger attack vectors they create in so doing.
The budget keeps bloating. Unfortunately, some of the data being maintained is old, inaccurate, or simply underutilized. If not leveraged to grow sales, drive efficiencies, and otherwise create value, the data costs more than it’s shown itself to be worth.
Balancing the Cost-Benefit Equation
Tipping the balance of the cost-benefit equation will require advances in data management capable of combining structured and unstructured data so it can be easily accessed. New code will float on top of old legacy systems to tap the information stored there via more flexible mobile apps. Big data and machine learning strategies will derive more insights. Together, this work will improve revenue generation, but what about the cost issue? If the cost of maintaining information declines, the enterprise gains some breathing room. They won’t need to quickly add AI capable of plumbing the depths of their data stores or pursue other moonshots. IT can celebrate steady progress in data analytics.
First, enterprises may soon reconsider what data they store and why. There are good reasons to toss or archive data. When the brains at CERN get rid of more data than they keep, you can feel confident in following this route. Moreover, new data rules, such as the E.U.’s GDPR regulation taking effect in May, make holding on to data riskier than it once was. Purging may feel good.
A thorough spring cleaning will not slow the impact of IoT, however, and the data generated by the 50 billion connected devices coming online, if not by 2020 then not too long thereafter. Data storage equipment will do its part, getting heftier with each new product release. Enterprises no longer wowed by petabyte storage devices will seek and find exabyte and yottabyte arrays with ease. But sheer capacity will not control maintenance and upkeep costs; automation will contribute to IT leaders’ sanity but not guarantee it.
No wonder many organizations are looking to the cloud for answers. The problem is that as cheap as cloud options may seem at first, paying for long-term storage of data gets expensive and TCO gets out of hand. It is often most cost-effective to store data in on-premises and collocated hardware.
The Role of Third Party Maintenance
This is where a third-party maintenance provider can help. Premier companies offer highly personalized service. Clients can easily access experts for help in maximizing uptime, ensuring data integrity, optimizing backup processes, giving older equipment new life, and charting an affordable upgrade pathway, while saving money all at the same time. In the coming months and years, these services will be part of multifarious efforts allowing IT leaders to not only keep their heads above the data flood but swim against the current to reach the value residing in all that information.