If you are feeling constrained in your current data center, you’re not alone. Globally, data is growing at an unprecedented rate, leaving many enterprises struggling to keep up with demand.
The Expected Growth of Data
The amount of data produced and consumed worldwide has been increasing exponentially. An IDC report found that global data, or what they call the “Global Datasphere”, will increase from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. As the consumption of data increases, so will the use and creation of real-time data. The IDC report calculates that by 2015, 30 percent of data will be in real-time. The growth of global data will impact data centers and the enterprises that rely on them.
Another impact on data centers is resource consumption by data that isn’t being accessed regularly — or at all. According to Veritas, more than half of enterprise data storage is unclassified or unused. Another third of that data is trivial, redundant or obsolete. This brings us to a total of 85 percent of stored data that is not used. While data redundancy is an integral part of a backup strategy, unused data costs companies money.
Ways to Manage Data Center Growth
To offset data storage and keep costs down, many enterprises are turning from owned data centers to colocation or the cloud. Enterprises managing their own data centers have more control. However, the costs of scaling to keep up with growth can be prohibitive for many businesses.
Virtualization has long been used in the data center to maximize server use. Virtualization allows one computer or server to behave as many. Running several instances on each server lowers power consumption and maximizes computing power. And using virtualization for storage can increase utilization by as much as 80 percent.
To control costs, colocation can be an effective solution. Colocation allows businesses to store their servers and other hardware in a data center managed by another party. These shared data centers may provide storage for several companies. Colocation data center offerings vary, including heating or cooling, bandwidth, and physical security.
Another solution is to move some or all data storage to the cloud. Getting rid of physical servers and other hardware can reduce costs. And the cloud’s pay-as-you-go set up means that scalability is fast and responsive. The ability to scale IT capacity as needed and scale back down just as quickly can be very tempting for some enterprises.
However, all these options pose some challenges. Virtualization still requires a physical footprint and may not be able to scale with your enterprise data needs. When using colocation, physical access to servers may be limited. So, the ability to remotely monitor and manage the infrastructure is essential. And, the cloud may be challenging for highly regulated industries. It also may not be suitable for rural areas without a reliable internet connection.
Tools to Help Manage Your Data
For a traditional data center environment, management tools can provide power consumption monitoring, visibility into server uptime and utilization. Leveraging virtualization and server consolidation, you can reduce server waste. Use compression, deduplication or data tiering to store data more efficiently and reduce the number of servers needed.
If your environment is complex or you have migrated data to the cloud, look for tools that can pull information from physical, virtual and cloud environments. When you have a unified view, you can manage your data no matter where it is. These tools can assist with data deduplication to reduce redundancy and optimize storage. And, leveraging a unified backup platform can make disaster recovery faster and easier.
The key is to look for a single data management tool that meets your needs and can scale with your enterprise. Otherwise, you risk winding up with several products patched together and losing visibility.
Preparing for the Future
Data growth is inevitable. The ever-expanding “Global Datasphere” shows no sign of stopping. But, by adopting some of these strategies, you can prepare your data center for growth.