Object storage, the advantages. How to manage data growth



“Don’t Focus on Big Data; Focus on the Data That’s Big”

Data is the lifeblood of companies in every sector, from healthcare to financial services, from the media and entertainment industry to logistics. Protection and availability are the two key words for companies of all sizes: scalability the main factor in understanding where to invest.

The pace of data volume growth is steadily increasing: it is expected[1] that the global datasphere will grow from 23 zettabytes (or one trillion gigabytes) in 2017 to 175 in 2025. The white paper Data Age 2025: The Evolution of Data to Life-Critical[2] reveals a portrait of a coming decade characterised by a virtually unlimited use of the power of data: the amount of information in circulation is generating a series of changes whose scope is equal to that of the analogue-to-digital transformation of the last 30 years, packed with business opportunities that have never been unexplored before.

An exciting scenario, but also an extremely complex one: data is a critical asset for the functioning of every aspect of daily life, from electricity grids to water systems, from public transport to healthcare systems, for companies, governments and citizens; the implications and impact on data management, storage and protection will become increasingly important.

The ease of storage management,native and hybrid cloud storage, and the choice of solutions based on the  As-a-Serviceconsumption model are major issues in understanding where to invest. The data of Forrester[3] speak for themselves: an effective archiving strategy streamlines all the workloads, from the most mundane to the mission-critical.

The spread of public cloud as a service (IaaS), the widespread adoption of SaaS solutions that are moving large amounts of data into vendor-managed services, the application modernisation processes focused on cloud-native technologies, are all phenomena that make the topic of storage crucial and show a tendency to rely on storage-As-a-Service solutions that automatically measure actual usage and are able to help plan for future needs.

[1] IDC (International Data Corporation), Data Age 2025: The Evolution of Data to Life-Critical – Seagate

[2] IDC (International Data Corporation), Data Age 2025: The Evolution of Data to Life-Critical – Seagate

[3] Fonti: Benchmark Report 2022 dedicato al tema Storage e indagini Business Technographics® – Forrester

Data growth: 5 key trends

There are five trends that will drive global data growth between now and 2025:

  • The evolution of data from a corporate asset to an essential element of any business: IDC estimates that by 2025, almost 20% of the data in the global data sphere will be critical to our daily lives, and 10% are defined as hypercritical.
  • Embedded systems and IoT

The increasing spread of hyper-connected digital devices will generate huge amounts of data that can be used to optimise systems and processes in ways that were impossible a few years ago, but will have to be carefully managed. Big Data and metadata will touch every aspect of our daily lives: it is estimated that by 2025, the average person connected anywhere in the world will interact with devices almost 4,800 times a day: one interaction every 18 seconds.

  • Mobile and real-time data

The need for access to data will increase further. By 2025, more than a quarter of the data created in the global datasphere must be immediately available in real time, and IoT data will make up more than 95% of this estimate. The ongoing mutation in the use of data therefore sees a shift from selective collection to a ubiquitous process and from retrospective analysis to the here and now.

  • Cognitive systems and AI

Technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence are transformingdata analysis from a specific practice to a strategic action driver: the part of the global data sphere subject to data analysis will grow steadily.

  • The challenge of unstructured data

According to Gartner’s analysis, 80% of corporate data is made up of unstructured data (including videos, emails, documents, voice recordings, multimedia files, science and health data, sensitive and non-sensitive data from social media, IoT devices and sensors). At the same time, it is estimated that almost80% of companies still have little or no visibility of their unstructured data.

  • Security as a critical basis

As the amount, variety and importance of data increases, this also means new vulnerabilities, especially for private and sensitive information. Analyses in the field observe a significant gap between the amount of data that requires security and the amount of data that is actually secured, and IDC estimates that the gap will increase. By 2025, almost 90% of all data created in the global datasphere will require some level of security, but less than half will actually be protected. Companies that are able to cope with this process will be the ones best prepared to deal with cyber threats, the risk of data loss, the time and cost of recovery and business restart. They will be ready to distinguish and interpret the criticality of data, exploiting their potential and creating new economies of scale.

As computing power becomes more and more widespread, so do cyber risks. As the importance of data grows, so does the need for data resilience and the need to create a digital immune system capable of preventing breaches, with strong impacts on infrastructure and storage strategies.

The recent survey[4] conducted by Sophos, who interviewed 3,000 cybersecurity managers in 14 countries, revealed some emblematic points:

  • the IT sector, most of all, would seem to be the least affected by attacks, a belief that can be interpreted as a misperception of security on the part of professionals;
  • currently, two thirds of the companies surveyed have been attacked, a figure that has risen over the past 2 years, especially in the case of more structured companies with a higher turnover, from which a more robust protection strategy might be expected;
  • payment of the ransom does not always lead to a restoration of the data: only 63% of the companies actually got their data back;
  • alongside new forms of malware, data encryption is the main threat: it is successfully conducted in 76% of cases. The figure on how many companies were able to intervene before encryption also decreases: not enough work is being done on prevention and the ability to intervene in time.

The benefits of an effective archiving and data recovery strategy on the time and cost of recovery after suffering an attack are clear: while 84% of companies affected by ransomware suffered heavy losses on business activities and turnover, the most prepared companies recovered more quickly: 45% of those who used back-ups recovered their data within a week, compared to 39% of those who paid the ransom.

[4] Sophos, The State of Ransomware 2023

Why choose Object Storage

Object storage makes it possible to store large volumes of structured and unstructured data (documents, multimedia files, data from devices in ​real-time and IoT sensors, entire databases). This technology performs best when adopting a pay-as-you-go mentality, where scalability is the first requirement: managing data growth in fact does not mean creating a cumbersome infrastructure in advance, but choosing the most suitable products and evaluating the required capacity and the impact of the workloads as they diversify and grow.

The correct adoption of object storage products also changes many paradigms concerning data security and protection: object store storage simplifies back-up operations, which can be managed in-house. Theimmutability of data allows for winning protection in terms of preservation and cybersecurity; centralised infrastructures are more advantageous than distributed ones that need multiple repositories which need to be backed-up.

Object storage: some advantages

Scalability: Object storage is highly scalable, allowing large volumes of data to be managed efficiently. It can handle petabytes or even exabytes of data and offers a cost-effective way to increase storage capacity based on the user’s effective needs.

Reliability, durability and resilience of data: Objects are fragmented and distributed over several storage devices, often in different geographical locations: redundancy ensures that the data is always protected against catastrophic events or hardware failures. The erasure coding protects the data, the control algorithms help to detect and correct any errors in the stored data.

Flexibility: compared to the rigid hierarchical organisation of traditional file storage, object storage offers greater flexibility, allowing billions of objects to be organised, searched and analysed in a simultaneous and synchronised manner. It offers the possibility of adding customised metadata, which is particularly useful when collecting information for machine learning, large-scale video or audio archiving, and managing data from IoT sensors.

Ease of global access: object storage facilitates simultaneous access from different geographical locations. A major advantage when working with distributed applications that require access by users or systems in different parts of the world.

Saving: One of the main strengths of object storage is that it is cheaper than other traditional forms of storage, which can also become very expensive when faced with the need to scale up, and provides a high cost-efficiency ratio for managing large amounts of data: thanks to the use of inexpensive storage hardware and greater efficiency in management, and by operating based on a pay-per-use model, it reduces the overall costs of storage.

Object Storage is a reliable, scalable and cost-effective solution for data storage.

Contact the SCAI Group centres of expertise to find out more.

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