Rise of big data calls for improved data storage methods
For several years now, the rate of data accumulated by organizations has been rising significantly. Businesses of all sizes now regularly gather massive amounts of data from a variety of sources, including social media, call records, transactions, emails and much more. This information varies in terms of its critical value, but businesses are understandably loathe to dispose of any data that may prove useful in some capacity.
This means that organizations are facing an increasingly difficult task: finding means of storing rapidly accumulating, large data sets. As a recent study demonstrated, this concern is quickly moving to the forefront of many business' priorities.
A challenging problem
Recently, Vanson Bourne conducted a survey of U.K. organizations regarding their most challenging storage problems, CRN reported. Respondents were asked to rank four common storage issues in order of importance: data storage, building disk archives to replace tape, always-on storage for cloud applications and big data.
The survey found that 71 percent of participants considered storing big data (defined as data sets comprising large volumes, velocities or varieties) to be among their top two biggest challenges, making it the most commonly cited problem.
The issue of storing big data was particularly prevalent among retail, distribution and transport firms, as 84 percent of participating organizations in these sectors identified big data as a top-two issue. A further 72 percent of manufacturing companies answered similarly, according to the news source.
"Managing large volumes of data, structured or unstructured, is not just a case of adding storage to your data center," industry expert Mike Wall commented for the report.
"Object storage was specifically designed to address such challenges and, as such, is being adopted as the only viable long-term solution for many big unstructured data projects," he added.
Those comments are in line with the fact that the issue of building disk archives to replace tape was the least commonly cited issue among survey participants, emphasizing the notion that the rise of big data has added new, additional value to tape storage.
Tape and big data
The importance of tape storage, particularly in regard to big data, was recently highlighted by industry expert Richard Moseley. Writing for Techworld, Moseley noted that while many organizations have shifted their focus toward disk-based strategies, tape storage serves a unique, critical purpose. Disk-based strategies, he noted, offer certain advantages when it comes to IT departments' need to quickly restore data, critical applications, databases and end-users, as disk is a more accessible medium.
Moseley went on to argue, however, that tape backup solutions are still a vital component of many organization's data protection strategies, and for good reason. He noted that analysts believe approximately 50 percent of a given organization's data falls into the category of "mission critical," meaning that it is essential for the day-to-day functioning of the business. It follows, then, that an additional 50 percent of all data is not mission critical.
However, this does not mean that half of companies' information can or should be discarded. Rather, it can serve a number of invaluable functions. This information may be essential for compliance management, for example, as certain industries require detailed records of all kinds be maintained. Additionally, archival tape vaulting can ensure that a company is able to recover in the event that primary storage systems are corrupted or become unavailable. Tape is inexpensive and has large storage capacity, making it ideal for this level of archiving and backup, particularly considering the rise of big data.