Technology executives overwhelmingly agree their greatest struggle is managing the rapid growth of data and the resulting strain it is placing on their budgets, according to a recent survey of 350 IT managers. The survey, which ran over a few months, was conducted by data storage solutions Tarmin and Angel Business Communications.
Sixty-six percent of respondents said they are expected to manage and store an exponentially growing amount of data, but do not have the budget to continue adding new servers. And while the cost of storing data is trending downwards it doesn't keep up with the rate of data growth. "It's really that disparity between rate of data growth and the downward trend of storage cost and the flattening of storage budgets," says Joseph Lynn, VP of marketing for Tarmin. "People are looking for new and innovative ways to address that."
Lynn gives an example of a bank client that reportedly stored 300 petabytes of data this year, and is facing 50% growth per year. "When you think of that rate of growth, people are literally turning up with bandload and bandload of disks at this data center where you can't fill it fast enough to keep up with performance, and the amount of money people are talking about is hundreds of millions just on storage." Even if the budgets can keep up, IT needs a more sustainable model, he argues.
"Don't just look at the growing data supply and storage as an overhead, as the nuts and bolts," he adds. "Data is the crowned jewels of the organization. These digital assets can enable business to gain agility, to reduce risk and perform as a holistic organization in a more effective way."
Driving change: IT problem to business problem
Doing more with less is a burden IT has become accustomed to, but this disconnect has a potentially damaging impact on business lines. Because while it is one thing for the IT team to struggle to store data, but it is quite another when it becomes a problem of not being able to comply or present under regulator e-discovery requests because data is stored in a non strategic, frankenstein way. It's also damaging when the company can't use data or assets to compete against rivals in the marketplace.
"There's too much data on the ground level, and at the end of the day that's the technical challenge," says Lynn. "We want to be using this data as a competitive asset for our organization, and that's really the next step that this data evolution is growing towards. The Big Data movement is all about that."
The goal of data managers is universally to remove silos, run analytics on structured and unstructured data, de-duplicate and consolidate existing data across platforms, and get over compliance challenge by knowing what's transpiring across the organization. But these solutions are rarely driven by IT, it needs to come from the business executives like chief compliance or data officers who can enact policies and governance to manage in a sustainable way.
Without initiatives from business lines, and flat budgets for IT managers, Tarmin concludes IT teams will be forced to take on short-term data solutions that will make small dents in the growth challenge. In that case, "the lack of storage capacity is only deferred rather than resolved entirely, and this will lead to more complications in the future."
In other words, the sooner business lines get involved in addressing their looming storage crisis, the better.Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio