How to Get the Search Capabilities That Matter Most for Business Users
I wish someone would create a “Find my everything” app. It would save my family (and no doubt yours) a lot of time if we only had to say aloud “find remote control” and the app would instantly locate where we had misplaced the TV remote (I should have thought to check in the refrigerator, not behind that sofa cushion). In my house, it’s not just remote controls that go missing, but children’s jackets, car keys, last night’s homework assignment and many other things that seem to disappear on a daily basis.
Simply put, the ubiquity of search in our personal lives has made us all appreciate how the simple task of searching can present the answers you need in the blink of an eye. Another place where search is appreciated is in business where line of business users and IT administrators use search to find documents and files and uncover important data quickly. However, bringing search to the data your business stores can be costly and the tools complex. Perhaps it’s time to expect a “Find my everything” app for storage: one that can help you query the data to gain insight and intelligence for your business. Here are some thoughts:
Data searches must incorporate content, people and time.
As IT pros and storage admins face challenges related to the growing amounts of data under storage, they’re also facing the challenge of giving end users the means to search through all of that data and locate actionable information in a timely fashion. If there are 1 million files under storage, how can one employee easily locate a single presentation another employee created? And how much time will both staffers lose in searching for that file?
The problem is only exacerbated when what a user needs is not a particular, known file, but the answer to a question that could come from any number of stored files. When users are seeking insight, they need to be able to search around the parameters of content, people and time. For example:
- Do we know that Jack created the information we need to find?
- Can we estimate that he would have done so during the past 30 days?
- Once we find the files we need, can we see who else has interacted with them in order to spot other potential experts on this topic?
Being able to answer these questions is the Holy Grail for search in the business world – far better than my fantasy of installing a “Find my everything” app in my house.
Storage admins want big-picture search capabilities.
The questions storage admins want to ask are a bit different, but the content, people and time guidelines still hold true. As these teams scramble to keep up with storage demand through thin provisioning, deduplication, compression and virtual machine (VM) creation, they’re learning that they also need to step back and ask where all the space is going. Among the questions storage admins and IT pros want to ask are these:
- What’s the rate of data growth over time for a particular category?
- Which VMs, LUNs and Shares are consuming the majority of our disk space?
- Who are my top consumers of storage?
Data-aware storage delivers answers to these kinds of questions, as well as to those that end users ask. As IT pros and storage admins prioritize the search features they want, they should focus on which capabilities will enable them to extract information that moves the business forward.
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