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Too much of a good thing: how can global networks help manage the data explosion?

May 25, 2016

Genius Wong   

Genius Wong, Executive Vice President – Core and Next-Gen Connectivity Services, and Chief Technology Officer

We’re all too aware of how much data we’re generating on a daily basis. To some, the word ‘data’ conjures up images of spreadsheets with indexed columns and neatly ordered rows, but modern data is much more than that.

Even in our day-to-day lives – whether it’s an email, a PDF scan, a social post, or a selfie – we’re constantly pumping out reams and reams of data, in increasing varieties and across a range of platforms; data that doesn’t fit easily in a spreadsheet.  The nature of data is changing, and with it the challenge of how all of these different kinds of data are stored.

Storing a range of numbers, standardised tags, or other sorts of processed and ordered information is (relatively) easy. Such structured data sits neatly in databases, meaning that it can be compacted and compressed to suit storage systems, and can be easily indexed and analysed by automated tools. But those selfies and social posts can’t be so easily regimented. Scattered across dozens of different file formats and protocols, this unstructured data poses a real problem when an organisation is looking for storage solutions. The data needs to be accessible, but it often simply isn’t economical to keep it on site alongside its live data.

The problem is only going to get worse. Unstructured data is growing at double the rate of the more easily managed structured data, accelerating towards a point that threatens to be unmanageable for organisations and enterprises around the world.

Traditional cloud storage can offer a stop-gap solution to this.  But as data has grown, so too has the need to access this data quickly and easily, whilst still requiring stability and security

Simply having scalable cloud storage is no longer enough: the means of access also require a step-change to match the demands of a modern, connected organisation. When migrating storage, shouldn’t the way your organisation connects to the cloud be as important as the cloud itself? Don’t just think of the storage, consider the importance of the networks tying end-users to the cloud servers.

As the quantity and breadth of data continues to expand, the key priority for organisations will be ensuring that managing all this information is as simple as possible at every level. Only those organisations that are able to successfully manage their data explosion will be able to direct it into something useful, but that can only be managed effectively by an infrastructure that is cohesive.

Unifying cloud storage and the network makes data that bit less unwieldly, translating complexity into convenience. A unified cloud infrastructure, brought together through a centrally managed network, is quicker, cheaper and (most importantly) one less thing to worry about.

Linking into a globally connected network – with dedicated routes around the world – is therefore the natural next step for any organisation migrating to the cloud. Simplicity is essential when faced by the challenge of growing data volumes. By leveraging a high speed, secure and reliable network, data stored in the cloud can be accessed on demand, without the unnecessary barriers of fragmentation. This has the potential to transform the way a business can operate, doing away with the hang-ups and bottlenecks that can make the move to the cloud a challenging experience.

Cloud storage, compute and delivery have grown up as a single infrastructure delivered by multiple vendors. The data boom should make us re-examine that. As the burden grows, simplicity will become king, mixed infrastructure isn’t perfectly designed for that challenge.

Is your network ready for the data boom? Let us know in the comments below.