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Why You Should Adopt a Vendor-Neutral Data Management Approach

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Read more about author Michael Jack.

It’s that time of year again: If you listen closely, you will hear the constant rhythm of IT organizations in every industry collectively grinding their proverbial gears as they hash out the optimal data management strategy to deal with the ever-increasing mountains of invaluable data stacking up in their data centers or in the cloud. In a perpetually growing, data-rich, multi-vendor environment, IT is tasked with striking the perfect balance between capitalizing on the enormous business value potential of said data and minimizing the considerable cost, risk, and pain involved with potentially insufficient data management solutions for their unstructured data.

With the rapidly evolving store-anywhere enterprise, the lion’s share of IT resources is still being earmarked for generating, storing, and serving up data to employees and customers. However, this lop-sided approach can put all data chain stakeholders at a disadvantage. Neglecting the need for a more robust data management strategy when dealing with unstructured data is no longer an option. 

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Given the sheer scale and complexity of today’s heterogeneous storage environments, enterprises must implement comprehensive, agile tools to manage their data quickly, safely, and securely across their entire data storage estate, be it on-premises, in the cloud, in a single data center, or around the world.

A new report, Building a Modern Data Management Strategy, discusses the key role data management tools are performing when it comes to large-enterprise unstructured data management challenges. The report acknowledges the challenges enterprises face when building hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure and identifies the increasing need for sustainable unstructured data management.

The Importance of Vendor-Neutrality to the Future of Infrastructure-Driven Data Management

Scrambling to cobble together their own versions of data management tools, storage vendors, and cloud providers alike are trying to satisfy the data management need. However, virtually all of them fall short in arguably the most critical element: none are truly vendor-neutral – and that is a game-changer. While many of these tools are touted as being useful across multiple storage systems and clouds, the unfortunate truth is they just aren’t. 

4 Reasons Most Cloud, Storage, and Backup Vendors Cannot Claim to Be “Vendor-Neutral” 

  1. Simple ROI analysis points to the unlikelihood that storage vendor/cloud provider “add-on tools” will ever get the engineering resources required to build out a comprehensive set of tools.
  2. No cloud and/or storage vendors are motivated to become a technical expert on their competitors to the extent their own tools will be reconfigured to seamlessly work across all their competitors’. We know from experience there are thousands of differences and a myriad of idiosyncrasies at the deepest levels that exist between them.
  3. There are tools on the market lacking even the most fundamental requirements for managing unstructured data like data integrity verification, ability to scale, and work at extreme speed.
  4. Backup vendors are also aiming to manage your unstructured data – it starts with a backup, typically to their own storage platform. In fact, backup is actually the most inefficient place to start when dealing with unstructured data management. The downside of the “backup approach” is that what is getting “managed” are the organization’s backup copies, not the organization’s actual source data.

Key Takeaways

The tools mentioned above may suffice when managing a single storage type from a single vendor. However, with even a level of a mildly complex setup, organizations should seriously consider looking for a dedicated, vendor-neutral data management solution. In addition, often with non-vendor-neutral approaches, a vendor may have a level of ownership of an organization’s data simply because the vendor is providing the “solution.” 

Proper unstructured data management solutions start with knowing the details about every single file as they exist on your primary storage system and being able to apply categorization and actions to those files.

5 Simple Reasons to Adopt a Truly Vendor-Neutral Data Management Solution in 2022 

  1. Truly vendor-neutral Data Management solutions can accurately meet the requirements to successfully manage enormous amounts (peta-scale and beyond) of unstructured data.
  2. Data visualization, analytics, tagging, and data mobility capabilities can all be applied to the data while the data never leaves the primary storage systems.
  3. Primary storage systems are allowed to continue to function per usual without any interruption to client access. 
  4. Access to the ever-critical data is never suspended for the sake of maintenance outages.
  5. The aforementioned report notes, “In this journey towards a modern data management strategy, users should embrace solutions that can deliver a solid foundation for day-to-day operations today while providing a clear path to next generation features that will be adopted when the organization and the business are ready.”

At a point in history when unstructured data is inextricably being woven into the fabric of the world’s future modern business model, today’s pursuit of a truly vendor-neutral modern data center, with unlimited store-anywhere capabilities, will undoubtedly lay the foundation for tomorrow’s business success. 

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