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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Needs a Revolutionary Data Management Solution

May 11, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Kiran Bhageshpur, Founder and CEO of Igneous Systems

We are in the early stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will see a range of new technologies fuse the physical, digital, and biological spheres with disruptive effects across all industries.

Already, we have seen a glimpse of the transformative technologies to come. Internet of Things, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and robots are just a few of the recent technologies that promise to shape our future.

Along with technological shifts come changes in the way enterprises view their assets. No longer are assets simply physical items that appear on one’s balance sheet, like inventory or real estate–they now include things living in the digital world. As the world becomes more information-driven, data has become the lifeblood of business.

The digital enterprises driving this revolution are creating more data than ever before. Life sciences organizations sequence genomes at unprecedented rates as the healthcare industry moves towards personalized care based on patients’ genomic profiles. Energy companies are harnessing massive stores of GIS data to find and deliver new energy sources. Geospatial information firms map millions of square miles of the earth’s surface each day. Media companies create petabytes of digital entertainment as technology such as virtual reality enable new forms of storytelling. Across all industries, data is becoming increasingly machine-generated rather than people-generated.

Overwhelmingly, digital enterprises create unstructured file data, which is growing substantially faster than structured data. Unstructured data is not only growing in cloud, but also on-premises. With unstructured data growing annually at 34 percent on-premises and 20 percent in cloud according to IDC, enterprises must prepare for a hybrid world. The largest digital enterprises manage billions of files and petabytes of data, spread over hundreds of file systems.

Because these digital assets drive business innovation and success, it’s imperative that enterprises effectively protect their data. Unfortunately, old data protection methods were designed for much smaller datasets, and for an age when business data was merely functional rather than essential to the business proposition to the customer. The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires a new approach to data protection and management that can manage enterprises’ core digital assets at scale.

Legacy backup solutions were never designed for this scale of data, or to handle massive unstructured file data. Under the new requirements for effectively managing massive unstructured data, legacy software fails.

As data grows, IT administrators experience the frustration of trying to backup and manage petabyte-scale unstructured data with legacy solutions. Petabyte-scale data presents new stresses on legacy solutions, including problems with performance, catalog density, and data management.

For instance, the single-threaded protocols used by legacy backup software to move data cannot move large volumes of unstructured data quickly enough. As a result, backup windows are missed, interfering with user activity and business productivity. Administrators must segment their backups into silos to address this problem, which creates unwanted complexity and confusion.

Additionally, the catalog density of billions of files stresses the software architectures of legacy backup solutions, which were designed for a much smaller scale. Because legacy software can’t handle billions of files, backup catalogs are now living on primary storage–which then in turn needs to get backed up!

And with so much data, it’s hard to simply know what’s there and how to utilize the data to derive value. As data becomes the driving force behind business, organizations need to learn how to effectively manage their valuable digital assets.

Digital enterprises need a secondary storage solution that can support the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This solution must support the core functions of modern data management: data protection, data movement, search and discovery, and learning.

Organizations need superior data protection to prevent data loss, which is devastating as more industries become data-driven and businesses rely more heavily on digital assets for their core functions and offerings. Because the majority of this data is unstructured, businesses need a data protection solution built specifically to handle massive unstructured data.

Second, moving data becomes a huge feat when datasets are large, and this is a significant problem in today’s hybrid world because data often lives elsewhere from where it’s needed. A modern data management solution must be able to move large amounts of data quickly and efficiently across systems, datacenters, and even clouds; for example, instead of using single-threaded protocols, modern solutions should use highly parallel, multi-threaded protocols to effortlessly move data from where it lives to where it needs to be.

Third, simply knowing what’s there is essential to utilizing business data effectively, but this is a huge challenge in itself due to the growing sizes of enterprise datasets. Features such as search and discovery are absolutely necessary at this scale of data.

Finally, modern solutions must enable learning from data as data becomes more integral to business and daily life. This includes deriving insights from data and supporting enhanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence workflows.

In an age when the core of business is data, implementing a modern data management strategy must be a priority. The digital enterprises driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution require a revolutionary data management platform that can meet the demands of massive unstructured data.

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