Tiempo de lectura: 5 minutos

If Samuel Coleridge were writing the Rime of the Future Data Analyst, it would go something like, “Data, data everywhere, nor a byte to process…” or something like that. 

For all the cool kids who didn’t fall in love with English Lit, the point is simple: we’re surrounded by more data than ever, yet it’s increasingly difficult to manage, access, and use — especially unstructured data. 

Data volumes continue to grow exponentially. And, while the cost of storage infrastructure is decreasing with advancements in technology, the true cost of data storage continues to increase because of the sheer amount of data we’re dealing with today. And if the traditional storage-in-triplicate strategy doesn’t balloon storage needs enough on its own, data is even growing its own data to accelerate the predicament. 

What to do? The answer is found in the cloud – Panzura’s CloudFS, to be specific. Let’s unpack the data challenge, review some common mitigation strategies that aren’t working, and see what CloudFS does differently to tame today’s unstructured data predicament.  

Where is all this data coming from?

According to a recent IDC report, unstructured data is growing at 40% per year, six times faster than structured data. And that’s a best-case scenario considering that every time analysts predict data growth, they get it wrong. It’s always much, much more. Why? Data makes data makes data, ad infinitum

Think about analytics – a business that’s been operating for 30 years has produced a lot of data. But, when they analyze that, they’re generating powerful business intelligence. They’re also creating more data on top of what they already have.

Taking a closer look at any industry vertical will show evidence of this. Healthcare has telemetrics and patient bio-data. Manufacturing has Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring in every plant, truck, and store. Social media apps are nothing if not unstructured data. Even the facial recognition algorithm in wi-fi powered doorbells creates data every time it analyzes video footage.   

Working with unstructured data is challenging.

If unstructured data is the dumpster fire lighting up every IT manager’s nightmares, it’s important to understand what makes it such a chaotic problem. 

For starters, it’s unstructured. Duh. There’s no particular organizational scheme to try to understand it. It’s a puzzle without a box and an unknown number of pieces. It’s a firehose of information and most companies are trying to filter it with a drinking straw. 

On top of that, there’s no limit to the type of data IT managers have to work with. The options range from text and images to audio and video. It’s like trying to read a book in a foreign language while blindfolded. Impossible. 

Managing unstructured data is a nightmare.

Unstructured data is a nightmare, plain and simple. Imagine a room full of unruly kids hopped up on sugar. Your job is to make them follow the rules, keep them playing nicely with each other, and not break anything. If you’re an IT manager, you’re not wrangling kids; you’re dealing with terabytes of data. 

Storage is one of the primary headaches in managing unstructured data – there’s never enough. As soon as an organization catches up, the boulder rolls down the hill, and they have to start pushing it again. 

And the biggest cause of IT heartache? Data governance. Cybercriminals want to get their hands on data, especially unstructured data. If it gets out, those in charge of data security might as well try to get toothpaste back in the tube. Good luck with that. Regulatory compliance? How do businesses maintain that when they’re not sure what they even have? 

Storing unstructured data only gets more expensive.

Storing unstructured data is a runaway train that just can’t be stopped. After you account for the sheer cost of storage infrastructure, remember that it all needs to be backed up, archived, and secured. It’s like maintaining a fleet of Ferraris – you might keep everything running smoothly, but the cost (and stress) make it unlikely you’ll ever enjoy driving one.

Part of the difficulty here is not just the inherent chaos of unstructured data — remember, it has no rhyme or reason, no classification, no categorical hierarchy — companies also need to navigate a living, breathing ecosystem of information that people in the organization need. 

That means performance, speed of access, and availability are all critical paths in an effective storage plan. Can people get the data they need when they need it? How slow is fast enough? These are thorny questions for an IT manager facing a vast lake of unstructured data and only conventional storage strategies in hand. 

Consider the typical enterprise data storage architecture. That data isn’t sitting neatly in one place. It’s on a dozen different islands across the organization, and it’s sending a bill for every location. Here’s some on-premises. Here’s more in the cloud. There are duplicates across physical geographies. The more dynamic and expansive an organization, the more likely its unstructured data is scattered everywhere. 

What’s an IT manager to do?

They could centralize all of their data. That’s the traditional way: consolidating everything down to one central source of truth, putting some iron bars on the windows, and locking the door. But users still need that data, so now they’re asking their infrastructure to do some heavy lifting with high-speed data lines, complex cloud-locking mechanisms, and a global file system that’s more like an anchor than a speed boat. 

The traditional enterprise NAS solution doesn’t consolidate unstructured data, anyway. It makes the problem worse. It leaves people making copies of the copies of data at that point. They have the offsite backup copy to protect against data loss and corruption and ransomware, but then they typically have a third copy beyond that in case the data center gets hacked, compromised, or corrupted.

Regardless of how sophisticated a storage solution may be, there’s a limit to how effective the data will be in a traditional storage environment. If it’s secure, it’s probably difficult to access and slow to restore. If it’s easy to get to the data, it’s probably not secure. Quite a conundrum. 

And now for something completely different …

Panzura CloudFS empowers organizations to manage their unstructured data seamlessly. Our cloud-based file system provides a single point of management for all unstructured data. This includes data stored across multiple systems and platforms, including on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid environments.

We designed CloudFS intentionally to reduce storage costs, improve data management, and increase data security. When companies can easily organize and analyze their mountains of unstructured data, it becomes far easier to extract valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.

One of the keys to CloudFS’ ability to wrangle unstructured data is the flexibility of hybrid storage locations — users can store data on-premises or in any number of clouds. Where data lives is no longer the driving factor in how it’s accessed. 

And, because of the inherent security of an immutable data storage system, our encryption ensures that ransomware is no longer even a threat. Simply restore as if it never happened, without losing a single file or wasting hours, days, and weeks navigating the chaos. 

Ultimately, CloudFS offers unparalleled control of unstructured data, securing it and making it easy for businesses to comply with all the regulations and governance structures they need to address. The outcome is an intuitive, seamless storage solution that manages unstructured data from the cloud to the edge at a cost-effective price point. Simply put, Panzura customers know where their data is, what it’s doing, and how to use it — all without even breaking a sweat.