Today’s CIOs have diverse, often apparently conflicting objectives. They must cut business risk, support better, faster decision making, and ensure robust data governance is put in place and maintained. They must support improved operational efficiency by cutting cycle times, for example for application provisioning, and product and service launches. While addressing all of these, they must, like everyone else in the organisation, make ongoing financial savings.
Much like a circus high-wire act, this is a balancing act demanding dedication, skill, experience and a cool head. Getting storage right is key to the overall agility of the business as it seeks to take advantage of new opportunities quickly, cost-effectively, and with minimal risk.
It’s All About the Data
At the heart of it all sits data. Managing it, unlocking it, securing it, and leveraging it are key to the achievement of these critical goals. Unfortunately, CIOs’ efforts are typically hampered by various complications related to data and its storage.
Continually accelerating data volume growth is a serious problem for IT departments across all sectors. Rapidly expanding, sprawling, unstructured file data often threatens to overwhelm file storage infrastructures and protections. Indeed, with the world becoming ever more connected, almost two-thirds of organisations are experiencing data growth in excess of 20% per annum. It’s no surprise, therefore, that handling data growth is something of a fixture in organisations’ top five IT priorities.
The Legacy Data Complication
The challenges raised by this landslide of new data are multiplied and complicated by the often vast quantities of unstructured legacy data, typically reaching all the way back to the organisation’s earliest days, that must also be exploited, managed and secured.
Much of this data, originally from platforms such as individual PCs, removable devices and shared departmental drives, must remain fully accessible to users, often via mobile devices. Shadow IT and the slew of data generated by today’s mobile applications and devices further exacerbate the problem.
These huge and swiftly expanding volumes of data present diverse management challenges. Files must be protected. They must be available whenever they are needed, but only to those who should be able to access them. They must be retained in accordance with regulatory requirements, and always kept secure. Many must be shareable, to support collaboration, and, of course, this must all be done in a cost-effective manner.
The Backup Challenge
Furthermore, these vast quantities of unstructured data must be backed up, raising challenges which intensify as the data grows. Organisations are increasingly finding that backup windows are insufficient for the volume of data they must back up, and even when backups are successfully completed, large datasets often take too long to restore.
Meanwhile, many sites have inadequate active backup management – or none at all – resulting in inevitable oversights and mistakes in backup procedures, and in many cases, backups are simply performed too infrequently.
An Enterprise File System
Data asset consolidation and cloud leverage can help realise cost savings, but to effectively address all of these challenges, a wide portfolio of issues must be taken into account, including security, performance, ease of use, manageability when moving data to the cloud and the integration of new storage systems into existing environments.
To achieve this, IT must bring all data assets into a single, consolidated whole, pulling together the existing plethora of dissociated file systems from which so many challenges arise.
This demands an enterprise file system specifically designed to centrally manage, protect and leverage information. Such a system will reduce data sprawl and help stop sensitive data ending up on insecure systems scattered around the organisation. It will help cut CapEx wastage arising from silos and redundant data, and OpEx wastage driven by file sprawl and poor performance, while reducing the risk of data remaining unprotected, or sensitive data becoming exposed.
To learn more, follow this blog series, in which we’ll explore these issues and practical approaches to their resolution. You can read more about enterprise file systems bringing cloud and on-premise storage together in the Nasuni File Services guide.