Data growth. Enterprises have wrestled with it for years, but in 2011 the stakes will be higher than ever.
That’s according to Symantec’s recently released storage predictions for 2011, based on what its experts have observed in the storage landscape.
Why are the stakes higher? Because the exponential level of data growth is impeding organizations’ ability to effectively manage and recover data. As a result, storage administrators will need to lose their “pack-rat” mentality and start getting a better grasp of their storage usage.
Continue reading to learn more about the storage challenges that are expected to take center stage this year.
IT managers don’t have to be told that information growth is a serious issue. With IT budgets and staffing under pressure, they’re already scrambling to do more with less. What IT managers do need to hear, however, is that this urgent problem is about to get much worse.
Researcher IDC has estimated that the amount of digital information would reach 1.2 million petabytes by the end of last year. (A petabyte is a million gigabytes.) By 2020, IDC expects the amount of digital information will be 44 times as big as it was in 2009.1
Small wonder, then, that data growth is the biggest data center infrastructure challenge for large enterprises, according to a recent survey by Gartner Inc.2 April Adams, Gartner’s research director, has observed that enterprise data on average is growing at 40% to 60% year over year due to a number of factors, including an explosion in unstructured data, such as email and documents that have to be stored due to regulatory requirements.3
Clearly, such growth will have a profound impact on IT’s ability to meet the needs of its business units. That’s why Symantec believes IT now needs to be organized around information. Unless administrators shed the pack-rat approach of storing everything and instead focus on understanding their storage consumption and categorizing information, storage costs will continue to skyrocket while exposing organizations to extensive recovery times.
Also expect 2011 to be a year in which the landscape of the data center changes, Symantec says. IT organizations are looking at various cloud computing models where IT is delivered as a service. To get there, they will have to build the foundation of delivering storage as a service. That means IT will need to:
- Optimize existing storage investments. While data is growing at a rate of 40% to 60% annually, storage utilization itself often remains at or below 50%.4 Clearly, organizations need to be smarter about how they use storage. That will require increased visibility into storage allocation and utilization. Making better use of their existing storage assets will allow organizations to put off storage purchases until future periods. IT will also need tools to automate a tiered storage model, migrating less important data out of more expensive Tier One storage resources.
- Hold users accountable for storage they consume. IT managers need to see who created, who utilizes, and who is responsible for data. Individual users can then be mapped to a department or line of business for consumption reports or chargeback. This allows for improved efficiencies of storage consumption by giving IT the ability to hold business units accountable for the storage space they utilize.
- Automate and streamline operations.Today’s data center is more complex than ever. Data growth, coupled with new technologies and business changes, has resulted in many disparate tools, manual processes, and a lack of visibility to interdependencies in the data center. The results are limited operational scalability, wasted resources, and increased risk. Moving forward, IT organizations will require centralized, end-to-end visibility. They will need to simplify and automate time-consuming manual processes. And they will need to automatically start and stop multi-tier applications.
Organizations can expect to leverage public and private clouds as they become available in 2011. Tools will also emerge to manage this new, complex storage environment.
Prepare for storage virtualization challengesThe rapid, widespread adoption of virtualization will bring home some harsh realities to IT administrators in 2011. While virtualization continues to decrease server costs, it can make information management more complex, particularly as it relates to storage. Virtualization makes both storage management and storage-intense operations such as backup and recovery more difficult, leading to unexpected costs. As more and more IT departments are finding out, poorly utilized or managed storage and inefficient data protection processes can prevent them from fully realizing the potential of virtualization.
This year, organizations need to decide why they want to implement storage virtualization and develop a plan before purchasing any products. Here are some good reasons to implement storage virtualization:
- To reduce the amount of data stored on storage devices
- To increase the amount of storage that a storage administrator can manage
- To reduce the complexity of device management by virtualizing different or heterogeneous storage arrays or devices within a storage solution
IDC estimates that, by year’s end, new mobile device shipments will have increased by 55%, while Gartner predicts that 1.2 billion people will be using mobile phones with Web connectivity by the end of 2011.
The widespread consumer adoption of smart mobile devices will increasingly result in these devices making their way into the enterprise through the back door, blurring the lines between business and personal use and driving new IT security and management models to market in 2011.
A research report released last year by technology company Mocana found that business and government stakeholders in the United States are largely unprepared to handle the infrastructure crashes, hacker penetrations, and property and identity thefts resulting from the flood of new non-PC devices connecting to the Internet.5
As these devices grow more sophisticated and as a handful of mobile platforms corner the market, it’s inevitable that attackers will target these devices in 2011. Likewise, organizations will need to take steps to support these devices and put policies in place to protect their confidential data.
Today’s enterprises are overloaded with information as data continues to grow exponentially. By understanding the challenges and risks related to that data growth, IT organizations can plan and implement strategic technology initiatives to address the storage issues that are likely to take center stage in 2011.
- 1 “A Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?” IDC, April 26, 2010
- 2 “Gartner Survey Shows Data Growth as the Largest Data Center Infrastructure Challenge,” Gartner, November 1, 2010
- 3 “Data Growth Remains IT's Biggest Challenge, Gartner Says,” Computerworld, November 2, 2010
- 4 “Bringing Enterprise-Class Features to Cloud Storage Services,” Enterprise Strategy Group, September 21, 2010
- 5 “U.S. Unprepared for Internet Device Flood,” Mocana, Spring 2010