Jon Toor is CMO at Cloudian.
It’s no secret that data volumes are skyrocketing. According to IDC, total worldwide data will grow ten-fold from 2017 to 2025, when it is estimated to reach 163 zettabytes (one zettabyte is a million petabytes). This growth is being driven by many factors, including the rise of IoT, mobility adoption, and the increasing need for rich data (such as video and images). Virtually every industry is seeing its data spike, with verticals like healthcare, media and government seeing a particularly steep rise.
With no end to this growth in sight, organizations are struggling as they rely on traditional storage solutions (such as tape) that were architected decades ago. These technologies satisfied our storage demands up through the last decade, but in the current climate they’re proving too inflexible and difficult to scale to accommodate this deluge in a convenient and cost-efficient manner.
The public cloud is helpful for handling much of this data and major enterprises are increasingly embracing it. However, due to cost, control and latency factors, the cloud is not the panacea many people envisioned five years ago that would make all data woes disappear.
To accommodate the growing data volumes that will remain on-premise, organizations will need to rely on innovative, next-generation storage solutions. While the ideal next-gen solution will vary based on an enterprise’s unique needs, it should offer three things: support for both cloud and on-premises deployments, a global data fabric, and ransomware protection.
Hybrid Cloud Support
As noted earlier, the cloud has proven ideal for some workloads, but it’s not a perfect fit for all data types. Major enterprises now realize that a hybrid approach – with some data in the cloud and the rest on premises – provides the best of both worlds. Hybrid storage solutions allow organizations to optimize costs without having to compromise control of sensitive data.
Furthermore, the rise of multi-cloud deployments requires that a next-gen solution integrate easily with major cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure and Google. A multi-cloud approach allows enterprises to use specific features from various cloud providers, an opportunity to adjust usage for cost, and the flexibility to leverage the geographic distribution of providers’ data centers. Multi-cloud also allows for cloud data protection (replication from one cloud to another).
Global Data Fabric
Enterprises and SMBs alike now see their storage deployments span a wider geography that in some cases can stretch across the globe. Managing distributed storage deployments is traditionally difficult, as it’s a big challenge to manage data at central locations and at remote sites. Organizations require remote sites to each have separately managed storage devices, with middleware software controlling the flow of data between sites. As the amount of data grows, this problem only worsens.
To remedy this, next-generation storage should provide a global data fabric. A global data fabric combines an organizations’ scattered storage devices to work as one. With this single namespace users from any location can access an organization’s entire storage from any node within the fabric. It is no longer necessary to know exactly which device houses a particular piece of data. Like the cloud, a data fabric can scale limitlessly. All locations – on premises and in the cloud -- appear as a single, federated collection of storage assets. This approach simplifies infrastructure, reduces workloads, and cuts costs.
WORM Ransomware Protection
The cities of Atlanta and Baltimore, Boeing, and the Colorado Department of Transportation are a few of the organizations to be hit by ransomware attacks in 2018. There are many ways to guard against ransomware, but the use of WORM storage is the last, best line of defense.
WORM stands for Write Once Read Many. With WORM storage, once the data is written, it can not be altered or deleted until a preset time period elapses. This prevents malware from encrypting and rewriting the data, effectively locking the victim out. WORM ensures that data, such as that targeted in the Atlanta attack, cannot possibly be jeopardized.
Data is accruing at an unprecedented rate - not just for large enterprises - but for SMBs as well. Companies that rely on older storage solutions will see their struggles intensify exponentially with this growth. To manage this booming volume of data efficiently, flexibly and cost effectively, organizations should look at next-gen, limitlessly scalably storage solutions that are cloud-ready and geo-distributed. Otherwise, enterprises may find themselves under water in this data tsunami.
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