Digital Transformation

Are you ready for Yottabytes? That’s a question storage experts are asking. We’ve already passed Exabytes and Zetabytes as denominations, and that just leaves one more measure of storage capacity.

The question reflects the continuing boom in data growth, and it highlights the need to move storage solutions to new levels of performance and manageability.

According to the research firm Statista, global data center storage capacity is set to grow from 1450 Exabytes in 2018 to around 2300 Exabytes by 2021.

Looking closer at Statista’s forecast, the firm identifies four key growth areas within the overall figures. Compute capacity is set to grow from 280 to 470 Exabytes within that period, ERP and business application storage from 290 to 420 Exabytes, collaboration storage from 250 to 400 Exabytes, and database and analytics storage from 230 to 380 Exabytes.

Growth is also driven by the increasing volumes of data from the IoT, streaming video and social media.

Focus on Data Value

The challenge facing IT teams is not just how to store these vast volumes of data, but how to manage it to get full business value. Analysts at IDC stress the importance of focusing on the value of data in a white paper, ‘Data Age 2025.’ The firm reinforces the importance of creating, utilizing, and managing what they describe as ‘life-critical’ data.

IDC’s white paper also forecasts a major shift in the sources of data. The firm forecasts that by 2025 enterprises will create 60 percent of the world’s data.

Leveraging the value of data is vital for improving customer service and competitive advantage, and it’s essential to the efficient, reliable performance of critical business operations. That makes storage optimization and secure access a priority.

Challenges to Legacy Storage

For organizations with legacy storage systems, cost reduction is also a major challenge. A study for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise found that 30 percent of a typical IT budget is spent on storage and 68 percent of the storage budget is spent on operational tasks.

The study also revealed other inefficiencies in the way storage is managed. It found that 60 percent of storage spend is for managing copies and 85 percent of storage space is taken by copies. Spending on storage of copies is eight times higher than spend on the critical – and growing – area of storage for data and analytics.

Clearly, improved data management and higher levels of automation are important. Traditional responses such as adding more storage capacity and keeping everything are no longer sufficient. Failure to improve storage facilities could mean slow application performance, non-compliance, lack of storage space and spiraling costs.

Best Practice is the Way Ahead

Storage optimization is an essential alternative. Consultants Capgemini believe that a storage optimization strategy can help overcome those challenges through adoption of best practices, improved procurement efficiency, enhanced compliance and improvements to provisioning. Implementing techniques to visualize, analyze and optimize storage infrastructure will deliver improvements through greater visibility and control.