The perils of mass data fragmentation and the cloud

While data is one of the most critical assets in today’s business world, managing it can actually be incredibly challenging – particularly in the public cloud. Cohesity’s Douglas Ko explains where the problem is coming from and how organisations can combat it

The perils of mass data fragmentation and the cloud

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox. 

“Data has become one of the most valuable resources in the digital business era,” says Douglas Ko, director of product marketing at Cohesity. “But it also presents organisations with one of the biggest obstacles when undergoing digital transformation, namely because of mass data fragmentation.”

Mass data fragmentation is the proliferation of data across different systems, locations, apps and workloads that prevents organisations from fully using its value. With mass data fragmentation, 80% of enterprise data – including back-ups, archives, files shares, object stores and data used for test/development and analytics – sits in infrastructure silos that do not integrate, and are expensive, incredibly time consuming to manage and nearly impossible to analyse. 

“In my opinion, this issue has been exacerbated by the new innovations and agility made available by the cloud,” Ko says. “It has enabled developers to quickly spin up and create new apps and use cases. In doing so, it has also created a lot of new data that is fragmented from the rest of the organisation’s core data sets. The problem arises because it is not always managed or consolidated centrally by the organisation.”

Although the cloud has been key in the digital transformations of many organisations due to its agility and scalability, it also presents some challenges. In a study, Cohesity found that 85% of organisations store data in two to five public clouds for their business processes. 

“In this situation, the data sets are not talking to each other,” Ko says. “Using separate clouds means each one will be making copies of the data it uses in apps, in addition to storing ‘safety’ copies made manually. As a result, 63% of the organisations we surveyed had between four and 15 copies of the same data, which is highly inefficient. Since it is so easy to spin up, the fragmentation is accelerating and getting worse with the cloud.” 

This is a huge issue for organisations. “In the study we found that it is causing further problems for companies, particularly as the storage costs are growing with the amount of data,” says Ko.  

Without intervention, the problem will only get worse. The study also found that 98% of IT decision-makers reported that their data has increased in the last 18 months and will continue to do so. Over 90% of these participants believe solving mass data fragmentation will have significant positive effects on the organisation and its revenue. 

A new study by Cohesity, Mass Data Fragmentation in the Cloud – a global market study, found that mass data fragmentation is also leaving organisations unable to take full advantage of the cloud. As such, they are at risk of security breaches, missing opportunities to drive new revenue and even IT job losses. 

It is unsurprising that many organisations feel that the high hopes and promises of the cloud have not been realised. In fact, only a third of respondents managed to achieve all their expected cloud benefits. Almost 90% of the organisations surveyed believe they could benefit more from the cloud if they could tackle mass data fragmentation. This is where Cohesity comes in. 

“At Cohesity we have created a solution to help customers consolidate infrastructure silos,” says Ko. “Cohesity DataPlatform is a software-defined solution than runs on multiple cloud providers and on-premises. As a unified software defined platform, it provides users with a single view of all their data across all locations and all different types of workloads.”

“It supports a huge range of workloads; from traditional Windows Server or Microsoft SQL Server to VMware and virtualised workloads, and legacy Oracle-type workloads to more modern workloads like NoSQL, containers, and Kubernetes,” he adds. “All those are typically siloed but we are consolidating this infrastructure into one place, making it much easier to manage and extract value from your data.” 

Cohesity DataPlatform can benefit customers at two levels. 

“The major, low hanging fruit is to modernise your back-up infrastructure and reduce the number of data copies,” says Ko. “With our capabilities, you have a single platform across clouds, on-premises and the edge for back-up and data management that can help you reduce the excessive number of data copies down to just two or three, keeping a couple for security. This provides customers with automatic savings in infrastructure costs, storage costs and data transfer costs.” 

Data transfer is a whole issue in itself. “When you get to the cloud and edge world, data transfer becomes more and more expensive,” he says. “As the data grows, the process of copying it and moving it around becomes more expensive and slower. By getting rid of unnecessary copies, companies can mitigate this issue.”

“The second level of benefits is helping customers to reach the next level of innovation,” he adds. “Using the platform, customers can move their legacy data onto the cloud where it can be used by cloud-native apps, test/development, or can be analysed for insights. This is not happening today because that data is siloed. By having your infrastructure consolidated, you’re going to be able to innovate faster. Our goal is to ensure customers have the right data in the right place at the right time.” 

Read the full report. 

Cohesity will be exhibiting at Microsoft Inspire on 14-18 July. Find out more about the event. 

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