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Quantum 2021 Predictions: Data Management Challenges for 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Data Management Challenges for 2021

By Noemi Greyzdorf, Director of Product Marketing, Quantum

In 2020, data grew at an unprecedented rate and this will only continue as we move into 2021. Everything we do has become more digitized, and managing, storing and protecting the huge volumes of valuable digital content created everyday will be a big priority. For example, if you look at many segments within life sciences and some segments of IoT, multiple terabytes of data are being created and ingested every day. The problem companies face in 2021 is a lack of insight into, and understanding of, what their data represents to their business and what value that data has today and in the future.

Managing human error

Human behavior is one of the biggest problems facing data management. We move data where it doesn't belong and then have to search through millions or billions of files to locate it. As human behavior is almost impossible to change, we need technology innovations that will help us not only behave better, but to provide safety nets to protect data when we misbehave.

Industries managing large data sets require software to manage their assets. These asset management platforms are very common in industries like media and entertainment that have been managing large numbers of files for decades, and this is now an emerging need in many digital-driven organizations. 

At one level, we need systems that routinely scan every file-based storage system, gathering all the information and putting it in a central location so it's easily accessible. This means compiling the metadata, structuring it so it's searchable, and providing a view of what's in your environment.

The second level is applying the knowledge gained through metadata to make your storage more efficient and create operational gains. Assigning business tags or extensible attributes to the data and keeping them in a structured format tied to the system where it actually manages the storage resources in real time will help with your data needs and keep it where it needs to be. Indexing and cataloging this data using AI presents a new opportunity to enrich this valuable file data with additional metadata, making it more searchable, more accessible and more reusable.  

Automating data management

While humans interacting with data presents a challenge, most data that's created and consumed today is done so by applications.

Automating data management is a necessary step and can be done by establishing standards by which the application can tag data based on what process it's in, where it is in the workflow, and what it needs to do with that data in the next step, or the next hour, three days, five days, etc. The applications can use these data identifiers, whether they're tags or a set of metadata variables, to make decisions and control the data and storage resources more directly.

For example, the application can send a call to the storage system based on those descriptors or tags to say "I'm going to use this data at 10:05, put it into Flash because that's where I'm going to need to consume it from", and the storage system then automatically puts it into Flash. The application consumes it and tells the storage system to put it back.

Optimizing resources

Organizations must ensure their expensive resources are being optimized and that they aren't putting data that doesn't require performance on expensive media. This means they need to move data across storage tiers in a way that's seamless, transparent, automated and in real time. This will enable optimal utilization of their resources, which, in turn, will reduce the overall cost of delivering storage services.

If data needs to be delivered to the application quickly and at low latency, organizations need to use the most expensive tier. To avoid waste, they must make sure that only the data that needs to be there for the application to do its processing or analytics is placed there, and that's it removed as soon as it's no longer needed.

Preparing for the long term

Any company planning to remain relevant needs to recognize the role archive data will play in their long-term success and how data archiving strategies will evolve. Businesses spanning a range of industries increasingly hold data that may be retained in some digital format for 100 years or more, making long-term retention necessary. These "100-year archives"-combining the capabilities of intelligent data management software and high-availability, scale-out hardware-will be required to cope with possibly exabytes of archive data. 

The most cost-effective solutions today for archive data use high-capacity tape robotic libraries in local, cloud and remote locations. The fastest growing type of data centers are Hyperscale Data Centers (HSDCs), which arguably represent the pinnacle of modern archiving strategies - they consume an estimated 2% of the world's electricity today, and are projected to reach 8% by 2030. Addressing the unprecedented HSDC storage challenges of the future will require advanced, easily scalable air-gapped tape architectures that can support erasure coding, geo-spreading with exascale capacities, extreme reliability, and ironclad cybersecurity protection.

100-year archives will require intelligent active archive software incorporating a data or asset catalog, smart data movers, data classification and metadata capabilities, highly-scalable tape libraries, erasure coding and geo-spreading data across zones in different locations for higher fault tolerance, redundancy and availability.

This is the future of data management in 2021 and beyond. Gaining an understanding of the value of your data to your organization, using AI to index and add metadata to optimize resources, and preparing for long-term archives will take data management to a much better place.

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About the Author

Noemi Greyzdorf 

Noemi Greyzdorf is a 20-year veteran of the storage industry. She has worked to bring innovative technologies to market from product development, presales and sales, and marketing perspectives. Noemi has also provided guidance to large and small companies as an IDC analyst focusing on storage for unstructured data and virtualized infrastructures. Her analysis and go-to-market support were key in helping companies position, package and message disruptive technologies.

Published Wednesday, January 13, 2021 7:28 AM by David Marshall
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