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Friday, June 10, 2011

Why ‘Big Data’ is a Big Problem

Author: Max Feneck
A transparent and rich data stream is the lifeblood of many companies. But, as many businesses are increasingly finding, the ever-growing stream of information is fast becoming an unmanageable torrent.
The problem’s only going to get worse. IDC predicts that data will increase by a factor of 44 over the next 10 years – a huge leap that could severely compromise a company’s ability to manage, process and make sense of data.  And with the average cost of data management adding up to 3.5% of a company’s revenue, businesses are under pressure to efficiently – and cost-effectively – manage their data.
Some IT vendors, of course, welcome increasing data volumes. But despite what storage vendors may have you believe, you can’t just keep throwing servers at your exponentially-expanding data assets.  Instead, it’s crucial to get under the skin of your data environments and ensure the most valuable data is the most readily available.
Not all data is born equal, of course, and the importance of different types of data is far from constant; whereas today's data might need to be replicated and recoverable in seconds, the chances are that last week’s data is less critical and can be backed up/stored on a cheaper medium. Keeping your most important data resilient is, however, absolutely crucial.
By investing in understanding your data environment and the real cost of managing – and mismanaging – it, you can dramatically reduce costs while ensuring that the most valuable data is always available.
Your customers won’t care how much data you have – if you lose their information, or your downtime affects their business, excuses about having to handle masses of data won’t wash.  Not to mention the strong likelihood that if you lose your customer’s data, you’ll ultimately lose their business too.
So what’s the solution? Look to a partner with a proven history in managing critical data and networks, and which has the expertise and experience to ensure your most valuable data remains exactly that – readily available and completely secure. Crucially, you also need to ensure that your partner is vendor neutral, meaning you get the best independent advice and aren’t locked into to one sole vendor.
Because even if your data volumes might be exploding, that doesn’t mean your costs, and your risks, should too. 

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