Why organisations need a scale-out infrastructure solution in the age of data regulation

Traditional methods of managing data are showing their age

Data is the most strategic asset of any organisation. It informs business decisions and drives revenue across industries. However, traditional methods of managing data are showing their age, and data-driven enterprises are in need of a better solution now more than ever.

As we kick-start 2019, regulations are increasing the impetus for organisations to improve management and visibility of their data. This is no more apparent than in the new and controversial Access and Assistance Bill. The regulatory landscape is tightening, and because of this, there is now a higher responsibility placed on organisations to better manage and protect data. 

Data storage is often overlooked in the conversation of data governance, and yet it plays a key part in whether a business is compliant with regulations such as the GDPR.

Ultimately, in a context where the definition of digital transformation is constantly changing, businesses need to prioritise the outcome of their data management, not the platform, product, or solution. Refocusing the approach around the choice of architecture is the best place to start.

Scale-up architecture is on life support

It is estimated businesses worldwide will spend roughly A$71.29 billion on storage alone in 2019. With such significant investments, how can Australian businesses ensure they are driving the most value from their storage?

It’s important to understand what technologies are bleeding your business dry by taking a look at the underlying infrastructure. Traditional scale-up infrastructures no longer cut it because they aren’t sustainable and they do not accommodate for the growth of a business.

Say you want to keep adding to a storage controller. Once that storage controller reaches its performance or capacity limit, a new one needs to be built on top of it. Not only does this increase your workload by having two independent storage silos, but it can become incredibly complex as your organisation grows. And according to a recent Commvault customer study, many IT teams aren’t cognisant that 70% of their data resides in secondary storage.

A scale-up strategy increases costs because many businesses will overbuy capacity to address future growth or underestimate their storage needs. And as these systems age, they need to be replaced with newer, more efficient systems. This process alone can be very expensive for a business.

Even moving data from one storage array to another can be very costly through forklift upgrades. This whole process creates complex management and operations, and requires additional staff for even the simplest tasks.

Adding more hardware and staff is not a sustainable solution. Organisations cannot expect to move forward without tackling the core issue: an outdated data protection strategy built on a scale-up infrastructure.

The solution? Scale-out, not up

Organisations shouldn’t have to work so tirelessly to manage and protect their data. Instead, they can make data work for them by utilising scale-out infrastructure.

Building a unified data protection approach on a scale-out infrastructure can eliminate unknown budget variables and growth challenges that are common with scale-up infrastructure approaches.

For example, scale-out enables organisations to be flexible with hardware configuration sizes and models. This can save both time and costs, and lets IT teams add hardware as the need arises.

Scale-out also removes the need for multiple layers of hardware and software infrastructure which minimises down time risk, improves data availability, and limits potential points of failure. As a result, businesses realise agility and modular scale to grow and evolve with changing company needs.

Data protection can be labour-intensive and a considerable amount of time and resources can be saved with a scale-out infrastructure because of its ability to support a unified data protection platform.

By implementing a unified data protection platform on a scale-out infrastructure, organisations can automate and orchestrate complex tasks. The result is improved efficiency and more time and resources to allocate to strategic tasks. This also links strongly with regulatory compliance. Organisations are compelled to know exactly where data resides in terms of geographic location, devices, storage controllers, and networks.

Such an understanding is especially important for businesses who operate internationally. Ask yourself the question: do you have the capability to identify secondary infrastructure locations for the safe handling of data across borders?

A scale-out approach simplifies the process of tracking and managing data across infrastructure locations, and affords organisations the confidence in knowing they aren’t crossing any regulatory lines.

No longer do businesses need to keep adding to a never-ending stack of blocks to store more data. Instead they should feel empowered to scale for the future. In due course, understanding the importance of scale-out infrastructure is vital for an organisation’s sustainability.

Chris Gondek is principal architect, APAC, at Commvault