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The right move

Article Type: Opinion          Published: 01-2018         Views: 2988      



Rick Powles, Vice President EMEA at Druva, explains what the continuing move to cloud models will really mean for storage

Ask anyone at work in IT what their biggest problem is, and it's probably related to "too much information." We create and share more data every day to get our work done - around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day, according to IBM. This spread of data can be risky: new compliance regulations like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will force companies to manage customer data more strictly, while ransomware attacks and data loss events are becoming more common too.

How can we regain control over our data? More importantly, how can we keep this control centralised, even though all this information is spread in multiple places?

It's important to define the problem here. In fact, it is not so much the storage of data, but how this data gets managed and how we gain insights from the data over time. Without this insight, it gets even more difficult to glean value from it. Consolidating data management onto a single platform or single view while the data itself is stored in multiple locations is the challenge.

Putting better data management processes in place should be an obvious first step for company IT teams, but the initial hurdle here is how much data now lives outside of IT's direct control. The growth of "as-a-Service" applications like Office 365 and Salesforce has driven companies to outsource their application infrastructure, while the use of public cloud platforms for new company applications has also grown.

The result of this is that an estimated 40 per cent of company data never sits within a corporate data centre. Instead, it lives in applications, on devices or on remote file servers when local copies are created. For individual users, this growth in data is a natural by-product of more mobility and flexibility in working; for IT, it's a headache as the data centre is no longer the centre of data.

Simplifying the management of data and regaining visibility and policy control across the entire data footprint therefore relies on getting insight into all the places where data may now be stored. Following on from this, it's then possible to centralise how all this information is stored and protected over time. However, this should not be seen as an attempt to force all users back to the corporate data centre; instead, it will rely on using cloud to protect all those different locations.

Rather than looking at cloud as simply being a place where data is moved to, it's worth looking at how this can instead be used to consolidate data for better management. Firstly, by moving to cloud, it's possible to reduce the overall volume of files being stored for multiple uses and instead look at smarter ways to use that data for governance and intelligence as well as protection. Cloud can act as a secondary target for multiple platforms in a way that more traditional data recovery (DR) tools can't. Secondly, public cloud can reduce costs on infrastructure significantly compared to on-premises options.

As part of this move to managing data as a service, companies can look at how to get more from of all this data they have gathered. Alongside reducing the overall volume of data stored through deduplication, this data can be repurposed to meet different needs across the data protection lifecycle.

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