centre of attention FROM CEO TO IT ADMINS - INTELLIGENCE IS KEY Gary Quinn, CEO at FalconStor, looks at how organisations can achieve the most from their data and what the IT team need to be doing to achieve this. D ata is being generated at an incredible rate with recent research suggesting there will be as much as 180 Zettabytes of data by 2025. A lot of that data can be very useful to organisations and allow them to make informed business decisions, but it needs to be utilised in the correct way. Knowledge is power but only if you have the power to use that knowledge properly. That’s not as easy as it sounds when organisations are grappling with the twin challenges of storing larger and larger amounts of data while trying to utilise it effectively. No wonder data has moved higher up the agenda for many, as more people in an organisation start to appreciate its value, from the IT team to marketing – even up to the CEO. But what can organisations do to extract the most knowledge from their data and what can the IT team do to make the process as smooth and trouble free as possible? The challenge Most organisations have a variety of storage systems from different vendors but no single tool set that can work across the entire environment. Instead, they have to rely on a number of disparate tools that cannot interact with each other and report in very different 12 | May 2017 ways. This causes problems when it comes to trying to aggregate the data being collected. As a result, delivering this data in a meaningful way so that it can be used effectively can be a time consuming and formidable process. Migrating data between storage systems is no easy feat, and as organisations embark on their journey to establishing their own cloud infrastructure, the need to simplify that process has become even more imperative. ‘Data can be very useful to organisations, but it needs Virtualisation to be utilised and software defined storage in the correct A more flexible approach is required to allow organisations way.’ to choose the most appropriate storage platform that meets their pricing and performance level needs, whether on-premise, in the cloud or both. This requires the creation of a unified storage pool, usually by virtualising the storage to deliver better utilisation of resources, eliminate silos and recapture stranded or underused storage resources. A unified storage pool enables organisations to abstract the provisioning of storage, regardless of vendor, type (flash, disk) or location (local, remote, multi- location). This also dramatically simplifies the complexities of shared storage environments by using a centralised GUI. A single pane of glass delivers a common interface to deploy data services in a simple, consistent manner, regardless of the underlying storage type, vendor or location. The benefits of analysing data patterns By abstracting the provisioning of storage, organisations can begin to analyse and monitor their storage environment much more effectively. A software defined approach ensures they get holistic, accurate views across the entire storage pool. Unified analytics with user definable views, reports and smart rules enable IT organisations to see what they need to see, tailored to their business and environment. They can predict capacity, understand consumption rates and plan accordingly. The introduction of virtualised resources has dramatically increased the number of elements that need to be monitored, tracked and addressed. IT administrators need to proactively adjust resources to maximise performance, maintain uptime and manage costs. A built-in, heterogeneous analytics engine can provide them with the information they need to take intelligent action based on user defined priorities, thresholds and policies.