Big data efforts drive investment in new storage arrays


Organizations of all types are investing in big data analytics programs, drawn by the potential efficiency gains and advanced predictive capabilities that information in their customer and business systems might be able to unlock. With the rise of big data analytics has come an unprecedented increase in the amount of data that needs to be processed and stored: According to a recent InformationWeek study, the enterprise data warehouse is the primary driver of stored Tier 1 data growth in 47 percent of companies. As a result, organizations are implementing cutting-edge enterprise storage solutions from vendors like EMC, NetApp and Hitachi Data Systems to meet their needs.


According to a recent IDC study, one of the primary elements of big data investments is in choosing an enterprise storage solution, and the market for storage infrastructure is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 53 percent between 2011 and 2016. Much of this growth will be due to the embrace of capacity-optimized systems, while software-based distributed storage systems with internal disks will also be employed.


“Businesses will continue to tap into newer data sources as they move their analytics efforts from search to discovery,” the research firm noted in a statement. “This shift will accelerate spending on infrastructure and data organization platforms will continue to accelerate.”


As it stands, nearly 31 percent of IT organizations reported that they had no deployment of enterprise storage systems for data analytics infrastructure but planned to make an investment in the next six months. The main criterion for selecting storage architecture solutions was performance, cited as a principal driver by 68.6 percent of respondents. Cost was cited as a primary fundamental issue by 59.5 percent of respondents. The lead decision makers in data analytics infrastructure are generally IT departments, although occasionally operations departments also play a role.


The push for big data solutions

The top usage case for deploying new infrastructure was analysis of operations-related data, which was cited by 63.7 percent of respondents. Slightly more than half cited analysis of transaction data. Improving customer satisfaction was seen as the biggest business challenge to be solved with analytics deployments, cited by more than 61 percent of respondents. However, many organizations are responding to the big data trend by accumulating large amounts of data. In its 2013 State of Storage Survey, InformationWeek found that nearly all organizations are experiencing double-digit data growth rates, and 11 percent now have more than 1 petabyte of data under active management.


These trends are helping drive rapid investment in new storage arrays. As organizations attempt to handle growth and keep information under control, both updated equipment and revised management processes are essential for success. To smoothly implement new enterprise storage solutions and develop a storage management plan to curb the costs of leveraging big data, many companies are best served by working with a managed IT services provider. A managed services partner can help organizations choose the best storage vendor for their needs, integrate new arrays with legacy systems and set up management protocols to account for long-term growth as big data programs expand over time.