Managing Unstructured Data Still Remains a Challenge

By Santosh D'Souza   |   Friday, 13 Dec 2013, 12:00 IST

The big data market on a global note will reach $12.4 billion in 2013, predicts Visiongain - a big data research firm. Data coming from all the directions will compel the storage industry to provide different kinds of storage media with varied traits of performance and capacity along with less power consumption even in a unified storage environment.

Emerging Trends

Software defined data centers are one of the emerging trends within the industry. We create a supplement to other trends like virtualization, cloud computing and mobility and tries to deliver a combination of storage virtualization, storage abstraction and automation of workflow and processes that involve data to deliver unprecedented amount of agility.

Our recently launched Clustered Data ONTAP has storage virtual machine technology as its heart, which allows us to abstract the operating system from the hardware itself and can be managed by one single instance of Clustered Data ONTAP storage operating system.

Pain Points

Addressing growth, simplifying storage environment and storage management, delivering secure access in a mobile world are some of the pain points that need to be addressed at the utmost urgent procedure. Low latency and high bandwidth access to data is another concern for the industry. Over the last 4-5 years, the emergence of flash tech is also been interesting. The combination of flash cash and SSD has increasingly been used to render extremely high demanding application workloads that require low latency - high bandwidth access to data.

Challenges occupying CIOs mind

The industry will bring into loads of challenges for the CIOs to wander around trying to figure out the solutions to them. One of them is to manage the unstructured data, files and documents, audio and video, images and various other forms of data. However, the company needs to have a scale out approach especially for those enterprises that do not have reliable forecast of how data is going to grow and the kind of data which will be stored in the storage environment.

The kind of complexity that has been introduced in data architecture over a period of time due to ad hoc implementation of storage in infrastructure, and managing all of these complexities has become increasingly challenging for CIOs. In today’s environment, the switches have to move very quickly in rolling out new products and services once the opportunity is identified. Such kind of agility has to reflect in the IT architecture particularly in data services and data management. Tremendous amount of automation needs to be introduced into the environment to prevent loss of time in having manual administration tasks to create provision and to manage the data life cycle.

The challenge of mobility and the desire to provide access to applications to data on-the-go through various access devices are increasingly occupying a CIO’s mind. As the enterprises increase their global footprints, there no longer exists the concept of maintenance window to the IT architecture. They need to be up and available all the time across time zones and across time of the day. And this can be possible through non-disruptive operations. So non-disruptive operation is another big area where CIOs face challenges.

Security & Safety

Big data storage if neglected can leave security holes. There are multiple ways the security can be compromised with, and one is at the heart of the data center itself like viruses and malware that would attack the components in an IT architecture and infect them. NetApp has been providing enormous amount of security credibility that are embedded on their Clustered Data ONTAP storage operating system that allows them to work with antivirus and scanners from a variety of vendors to ensure that the data is flowing into the storage is free from such malware and identified viruses.

With the move to cloud computing, enterprises had multiple applications and sets of users who are accessing the same physical infrastructure that they are sharing with other applications and users. Even though different data containers belong to different units or users, they reside on the same shared infrastructure, one needs to ensure a sufficient amount of separation between all of these data stores.

Ensuring data integrity maintenance and uncompromised security in a world where increasingly the mobile devices are the mechanism to which one access data in an enterprise is yet another aspect of security.

Future Plans

We will continue the history of innovating relentlessly our products for a better offering to our clients. One of the areas in which we have already created a product is all flash arrays. In the next calendar year we will build more products taking into account the peculiarities and characteristics of flash rather than hijacking an architecture that was used for hard disk drive and spinning drive.


About Author

Santosh D'Souza

Director-Technology-NetApp India

NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) creates storage and data management solutions that deliver cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, the company has a market cap of $13.98 billion.