Unstructured data is bad news for end users. It does not abide by the normal rules of data management and storage and is becoming a bigger headache for many IT administrators.
Enormous volumes of data are being stored in various forms throughout thousands of businesses worldwide. They have the potential to cause all sorts of problems, such as email sluggishness, server congestion and rocketing storage and backup costs.
This problem is magnified when the files themselves are unstructured, because they are harder to manage. And it has been estimated that most organisational data is unstructured, and the volume is expanding even faster than the volume of structured data.
Most resellers know that increasing organisational storage capacity by selling disk space – traditionally a low-margin item – is an answer with a limited lifespan and even more limited financial appeal which does not solve the issue of how to best store unstructured data.
The key is in addressing the cause, rather than the symptom. Technologies that address the storage footprint of files make customer disk space work harder and their storage budgets stretch further.
For resellers, this means selling fewer low-margin products, such as hard disks, but more high-margin offerings.
Thin provisioning, data deduplication, compression and reduction technologies are all doing well because they offer both short- and long-term benefits. By bringing them into customer datacentres you can take credit for cutting storage needs, reducing issues linked to email folder sizes and easing the pressure on network bandwidth.
At the consumer level, adding storage to cope with the increase in data volumes is an effective solution. But when it comes to larger environments, from SMBs to enterprise datacentres, the more storage there is to manage, the more human and financial resources are needed.
And this is before considering any challenges related to data discovery and compliance. A reseller that helps an organisation reduce storage should therefore be welcomed.
So sometimes less is definitely more.
Christoph Schmid is chief operating officer at Balesio
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