How IT Can Drive Business: New Expectations for Smart Storage

Much has been written about the new role for IT in data-driven businesses. No longer purely responsible for keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently, IT today plays an increasingly critical role in connecting what are arguably the two most important assets in a business: people and data. The risks and the rewards of proper information management and usage across a company are well documented in attention-grabbing headlines and in case studies of the most successful modern enterprises. As new technologies help shed light on dark data and turn analytics into insights, the relationship between back-end storage processes and board room decisions is becoming more closely knit than ever before.

However, as Howard Marks explained in an August 2014 Network Computing blog, “even with whiz-bang technology like flash caching and data deduplication, today’s storage systems are pretty stupid.” Enterprises leverage a variety of tools that index, audit and quantify data, constantly scanning network-attached storage (NAS) to consistently deliver insights. Running simultaneously, however, these tools create an overhead that is expensive as it is tedious to maintain, and are simply not a viable option for smaller IT shops. Luckily, data-aware storage provides an alternative, and the DataGravity Discovery Series adds new features to the storage market that were previously only a wish for enterprise IT.

In Marks’ article, “Aspiring to Smarter Storage,” he highlights a number of these features in a way that illustrates how DataGravity is changing the role of IT in connecting the business to its data. With a smarter storage system in place, companies can simply expect more of their data. Below are a few examples of the capabilities Marks discusses, and how they enable IT to truly drive the business.

Data-aware storage understands data.
DataGravity indexes data and metadata inline at the point of storage, providing the analytics capabilities mentioned above without impacting primary storage performance. This is fundamentally what we mean by being “data-aware” – and this spans individual files, folders, shared drives and virtualized environments. Data-aware storage doesn’t treat data as simple bits and bytes – but as valuable information to fuel the business.

Protection is built in.
Data protection has long been a thorn in the side of IT and the storage administrator. Marks explains that while traditional storage vendors pitch snapshots as a first line of defense to data loss, this approach is flawed as snapshots “share the same disks as the primary data, leaving the data vulnerable to a multiple disk drive failure scenario, and they have no index, making restoring individual files more difficult.” DataGravity takes a unique approach that avoids these common flaws by using a separate set of disks to store the protected data – improving recovery point and recovery time objectives.

Intelligent storage means your data can answer your questions.
One of the benefits of a data-aware storage system is the ability to ask it questions, and trust that it will provide answers that help improve the business. With data-aware storage from DataGravity, users can ask questions across more than 300 file formats, thanks to the full text indexing, access auditing and analytics it provides. According to Marks, DataGravity can “provide a degree of insight into user data that corporate IT folks can normally only wish for.”

We are living in a data-driven world. It is time for your storage to support the business’ data needs. It is time for data-aware storage.


To read Howard’s take on the DataGravity Discovery Series in his own words, head over to his blog on the Network Computing website.

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Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm was the vice president of marketing at DataGravity for 2 years. Jeff brought more than 20 years of experience with a rare combination of marketing skills, organizational leadership and technical background to DataGravity, having shaped the BI and search markets working for industry pioneers and disrupters.