By Johan Scheepers, Commvault Systems Engineering Director for MESAT
Data, and the way we use it, has changed globally. Data used to stem solely from Data Centres, however, data is now created across multiple platforms from many different channels. Mega trends such as the migration to cloud, governance and compliance requirements, mobility and the increasing ‘anywhere’ computing movement along with Big Data have spun the IT industry on its head – with data management following suit.
South African organisations generally still treat all data in the same way, often keeping everything due to uncertainty as to what to do with it, what to keep or discard, and how long they need to retain it. This can become expensive (due to high storage costs) and unwieldy (due to the large, seemingly unmanageable quantity).
In this technologically evolving world – and with the resulting growth of industry specific legislative and regulatory requirements around data – there is little place for traditional data management methods. Massive strides have been made in storage, cloud and hyper converged infrastructures innovations across the globe, creating new ways of handling data. South African organisations need to begin investing in technologies around data intelligence, to keep apace of the changing data needs of the modern customer.
Today’s customer is looking for open, standards-based infrastructure. There is still a strong focus reducing IT costs while maximising the benefits of data. Customers are looking for the flexibility to choose what they need without having to invest in expensive hardware and upgrades.
Customers are no longer willing – or able – to tolerate the loss of data for critical applications. There is a call for better recovery mandates with smaller recovery windows. Data security and protection is becoming more important than ever before and customers are demanding it across all layers of data.
Data can no longer just ‘sit there’. It needs to be productive; working for the organisation and in its best interests. Customers are looking for easily accessible data management solutions with built-in extensible analytics which will enable them to search for what they need, make use of virtualisation, use graphical and correlation tools, and more.
South African businesses are seeing more instances of shadow IT, where various departments source their own IT services rather than depending upon an IT department. Organisations – and the departments within them – want the freedom to dictate to ISPs what they need and when they need it, rather than the other way around. IT departments can no longer be the sole source of data management and access. Easy access and collaboration is required across all departments, within security parameters, of course. Users require seamless, universal access to all copies of their data. No matter when and where the data was created, users should also be able to securely share with others to increase re-use and unlock the value in data.
In order to maintain security and control of data within an organisation, in an environment where data is sourced, accessed, shared and leveraged by multiple departments, end-to-end governance is vital. The demands of data privacy legislation also call for compliance standards to be met. Companies must have all their data under managed control – visibility, security, access and compliance are needed.
Data volumes are exceeding the ability of traditional backup solutions to meet today’s demands and recovery point objectives. As data growth keeps expanding, users are demanding modern protection methods that can span from the data centre to the cloud to mobile users, offering recovery and lifecycle management.
As data is now created across multiple platforms and the progression of data usage is increasing, organisations also need to keep up with the data trends. CIOs, IT managers and, indeed, business heads, need to not only address the changes that technological evolution has wrought, but simply must focus on the adapting data needs of their customers. Whether it be migrating data to the cloud or changing the organisations policies to meet governance and compliance requirements, businesses must start changing their ways to benefit and support their customers appropriately.