Photo - Mark Bentkower, Director of Enterprise Solutions Asia Pacific, CommVault Systems.
Analyst firm IDC's 'third platform' description, which includes Big Data, cloud, social and mobility trends, is already driving data growth of 20 to 50 percent year-on-year, according to information management solutions company CommVault Systems.
CommVault's director of enterprise solutions, Asia Pacific, Mark Bentkower said the 'third platform' was preceded by two other key platforms: starting with the introduction of the mainframe computer in the 1950s; the second was the personal computers that revolutionised the IT industry between 1985 and 2005.
"Now, organisations are facing a massive and disruptive shift to what IDC refers to as the 'third platform'," said Bentkower. "This platform encompasses the emerging technology pillars of Big Data, cloud, mobility and social trends that are largely responsible for the enormous growth in the amount of data generated from transactions and interactions among servers, networks, machines, sensors, camera and other devices, driving data growth."
"About 40 percent of Malaysian-based enterprises claimed that their data growth is growing by 20-50 percent year on year, with another 20 percent estimating this growth at over 50 percent," he said. "This impacts on costs in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as spending on storage to accommodate Big Data will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42 percent between 2012 and 2017. Stored data resides in multiple locations - both on-premise, but also in various silos and third-party data centers, in highly virtualised environments."
"It is this increasingly complicated and high volume of data which require organizations to fundamentally 'rethink' data centre infrastructure and management, and use the new platform for accelerated capacity and cost reductions," said Bentkower.
He said the findings are from a CommVault-sponsored IDC whitepaper, 'Driving Smart Data Management in the Third Platform Era - An Integrated Approach to Managing Accessing and Protecting Critical Data', based on regional surveys, which examined the multiple challenges associated with data management in the context of the third platform.
Three recommendations for APAC organisations
"There are three major recommendations for Asia Pacific (APAC) organisations, based on the report's conclusions," said Bentkower, which are:
1) Develop an effective data management strategy
"Organisations rely on IT departments to help drive business priorities, which include finding new customers, handling escalating operations costs, and innovating to retain competitive edge," he said. "However, third platform pressures related to data management often overburden IT departments, hampering their ability to be the innovation engine that the enterprise requires. Having an effective data management strategy in place enables an IT department to maximize its resources to drive forward the business, as intended."
"In order for a data management strategy to effectively facilitate advanced data, similarly advanced skills, such as data integration, forecasting, modelling and simulation, are needed to support third platform projects. Crucially, the region's lack of IT technology skills is highlighted in the IDC report, representing a challenge that APAC IT departments are looking to resolve," said Bentkower.
He said enterprises must define a policy that identifies what data should be kept/discarded, and if kept, where it should be stored. "At the same time, as APAC organisations move to cloud-based storage, increasing their use of virtualisation, they must implement a data management strategy that delivers end to end protection, maintains optimum performance for both back-up times and application performance, and controls data assets regardless of whether the data is 'in motion' or 'at rest'. Maintaining data access is also an important component of a data management strategy. In Malaysia, 75 percent of organisations surveyed reported that access to data is 'critical' for business."
"The IDC report highlights the complexity of data management strategy in the third platform which CIOs are all too familiar with," said Bentkower. "The growth of data, 'big data' specifically, is becoming so large and complex that it becomes extremely difficult to work with, using multiple data management tools."
He said the findings underpin the importance of an integrated solution, such as CommVault's single platform solution, "Simpana, which can effectively help to address ongoing data management requirements. By centralizing data management operations from a single, unified solution platform, much of the complexity associated with data management strategy- such as effectively protecting, archiving, replicating, searching, and locating data - can be eliminated."
2) Optimise the storage layer
Bentkower said that one of the most obvious opportunities for CIOs to run a more cost-effective data management infrastructure in the third platform is to address the issue of storage tiers. "Commonly, secondary storage is not efficiently utilised. The data assigned to secondary platforms tends to be stored in the media without a second thought, whereas the primary storage space, which is perceived as more expensive, is generally better managed with the data tiered according to priority."
Organisations that implement third platform-centric data management processes should make it a priority to establish a layer policy that categorises where and on what platform data will be stored, thereby slashing costs, he said. "There are now more choices for secondary storage platforms. Cloud storage, for example, is becoming an increasingly viable secondary storage option with similar advantages to tape, in terms of cost efficiency, but with easier data access. Even within the cloud tier, there are opportunities to categorize data into public or private cloud infrastructures based on the status and individual characteristics of the data. For large or government organisations, for example, implementing a hybrid cloud solution can mitigate risk and cut costs, by enabling IT to manage and move data into public clouds."
3) Ensure data protection
In addition, Bentkower said that the third platform era also raises additional data protection issues to safeguard data stored, not only in data centres, but also on corporate-distributed laptop and desktop devices. "Mobility and virtualisation have changed the scope of what adequate data protection must entail, e.g. the data stored in employee-owned smart phone or device."
"In this data environment, which has transformed in the past decade, it stands to reason that enterprise must look to new data protection solutions as many legacy solutions, often consisting disparate point solutions, cannot provide adequate protection and discovery capacity," he said.