Data Awareness: Best Practices for Managing Massive Unstructured Data Volumes

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Click to learn more about author Molly Presley.

One of the greatest challenges of managing file storage, at scale, has been understanding what data you have, who is accessing and using it, how it is growing, and where bottlenecks are occurring. Companies are often running disparate storage systems that may house millions — or billions — of files with little insight into what exactly they’re storing. 

In order to be a truly data-driven organization, you need to have access to real-time analytical capabilities and visibility into your storage infrastructure to make well-informed decisions regarding capacity planning, user access and security and system performance. Unstructured file data often consists of a company’s key innovative assets, as well as its competitive differentiators. Common workloads that utilize push file data all involve are all billion-file volumes workloads: for example, factories gathering log data, IoT apps, analytics workloads, and more etc.

Understanding your unstructured data can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to make sound decisions about the best infrastructure to manage and give visibility into it. One thing is certain: over time, the scale and complexity of file-based data sets will be such that legacy storage tools will be sorely insufficient to manage the rising data volumes.

It is important for organizations to work with file storage providers that understand the specific challenges associated with unstructured data, and that have built-in analytical tools that gather information in real-time about data sets and workflows that enable them to make well-informed decisions regarding their data.  Organizations partnering with these modern file storage providers will be able to better understand and utilize data, and in turn, more effectively  drive research, development and innovation.

As file sizes grow into the billions and machine-driven data continues to rise, data awareness has become a true business imperative. File systems should allow organizations to gain visibility and insight about their data in real-time regardless of file and directory numbers.

This increased data awareness helps storage administrators obtain instant answers about their data footprint by showing usage patterns; for example, which users or workloads are impacting system performance and capacity. With greater visibility into how data is generated, where it is stored, and how users and applications are accessing it, data-aware storage makes it easier for organizations to categorize, classify, score, visualize and report on their unstructured data. With this insight, data-driven decision making becomes simpler and easier.

It’s critical for enterprise organizations to have a scalable and high-performance storage solution for storing and managing hundreds of petabytes and tens of billions of files either in their data center or in the cloud. To become a truly data-driven company, customers need an infrastructure that provides a holistic view of their unstructured data, and make it simple for end-users to correlate information, identify usage trends and make more informed business decisions.

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