Building the Foundation for an Agile Data Infrastructure
Organizations are creating and saving more data than ever. By next year, they will be generating the equivalent of all data produced in the world from the beginning of time until 2003. Organizations won’t be generating that amount of data over the course of a year or even a month: They’ll be generating it every 10 minutes, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
To embrace the changes and challenges created by this new paradigm in data growth, IT professionals must build a new type of IT infrastructure that can seamlessly scale as data volumes increase. This means an agile data infrastructure that is also intelligent and capable of supporting data that will outlive the infrastructure itself.
The cornerstone of an agile data infrastructure is intelligent data management. This means the ability to automatically deploy, adjust and control data storage attributes by using policy-based management. A small number of policies can automate storage operations that may need to be performed hundreds or thousands of times – for instance, creating a LUN, establishing a replication pair, and monitoring performance.
It is increasingly common for companies to save everything and delete nothing – often for valid reasons, such as regulatory mandates.
By saving everything and deleting nothing, however, organizations are creating a situation where the majority of their data can outlive the underlying storage infrastructure. An agile data infrastructure recognizes that if data is immortal, then the infrastructure must also be immortal.
Infinite scalability reflects the need to seamlessly scale to meet even the largest requirements. Of course, there will always be hard limits on such factors as the number of terabytes in a volume or the number of nodes in a cluster. But those limits will have to increase significantly compared to today’s legacy systems. An agile infrastructure must continue to push the limits of scalability for performance, capacity and operations. That is, the infrastructure must be able to scale efficiently and to scale shared resources without the need to scale the number of people managing the environment.
Taking the Next Steps: Planning for Agility
The first step in planning for agility is to calculate the data growth at your company for the next five years, using best-case (last year’s growth rate), medium-case, and worst-case assumptions. As a reference point, the consensus among many industry experts is for an average data growth of 50 percent year over year – or roughly 750 percent over the course of five years.
The next step is to develop requirements for an agile data infrastructure that can meet your data growth needs – an infrastructure that can be described as intelligent, immortal and infinite. Learn more about how NetApp solutions can help you meet these requirements and lay the storage foundation for whatever the future may bring.