Driving Digital Transformation Using Secondary Storage

For decades, IT strategy focused on deploying, managing and optimizing the infrastructure used to run the ERP, CRM, office productivity, and other applications used by businesses, non-profits and government agencies to operate their enterprises. IT infrastructure vendors were the stars of the show, constantly seeking to one-up each other regarding their hardware’s “speeds and feeds” in order to secure coveted spots in enterprise data centers.

However, the rise of hyperconverged infrastructure, Software as a Service (SaaS), and the cloud has completely disrupted the IT market, and with it, enterprises’ infrastructure-centric mindset. With a variety of scalable, inexpensive hyperconverged infrastructure using “commodity” hardware now an option for enterprise datacenters, along with SaaS and cloud services where infrastructure hardware is practically invisible to the customer, enterprises no longer see infrastructure as key to the success of their IT strategies.

Rather, enterprises are moving to focus their strategies on digital transformation—the use of mobile, AI, data analytics and other digital technologies, in combination with their data, to optimize operations and create new services that transform how they deliver value. As a result, enterprises are now realizing that IT needs to be centered more on the management and activation of the “information” aspect of information technology (IT)—their data—if they are going to be successful in their digital transformation and other strategic IT efforts.

In this new world, data is the coin of the realm, and the winners will be enterprises who can quickly and effectively harness data—the right data —to reduce risk, improve business outcomes and create new value for their customers, employees and other stakeholders. As they work to realize this goal, enterprises are increasingly finding that activating copy, backup, archived and other data located on secondary storage can be just as, if not more, useful for driving digital transformation as the production and original data located on their primary storage.

First, there is more data on secondary storage. A Commvault survey of enterprises found that for every terabyte (TB) of data found on primary storage, there are estimated to be at least two TBs of data stored on secondary storage. In addition, since the data on secondary storage is not being used for production purposes, it is ripe to be activated for digital transformation without significantly disrupting on-going business operations.

However, just possessing data on secondary storage is not enough if you want to activate it to generate new insights, foster innovation, streamline regulatory compliance and improve business continuity. To activate this data, enterprises need to have a powerful platform that enables them to cost-effectively and easily store and manage it, quickly find it and access or move it. These capabilities might seem simple, but many enterprises do not currently possess them, and without them, activating data on secondary storage for digital transformation becomes a much more expensive and difficult task.

Cost-effective storage and management of data on secondary storage is a core requirement for enterprises seeking to activate their data for digital transformation. Resources spent on excess on-premises secondary storage infrastructure hardware, unnecessary cloud storage services, and backup and archiving administration are resources that cannot be applied to more strategic secondary storage digital transformation initiatives. However, enterprises cannot streamline management of their secondary storage if they are not sure what data is stored on it or where this data is located.

Unfortunately, secondary storage in many enterprise is still often treated as a “junk-drawer”—where all data gets thrown in, whether it is duplicative or even needed. To clean out and organize these junk drawers, enterprises need a platform that provides them with the power to comprehensively manage all the data on their secondary storage—be it located on-premises on disk, off-site on tape, or on the cloud. A comprehensive platform enables them to see all the data on their secondary storage wherever it is located. It allows them to remove unneeded and duplicative data, and compress this data as much as possible, reducing the total amount of on-premises, off-premises or cloud infrastructure needed to store it. It enables them to automate backup, archiving and other processes, significantly reducing the amount of staff time required to protect and administer this data on a day-to-day basis. By reducing the money and time spent on managing and storing data on secondary storage, enterprises free up significant resources—resources that can then be applied to activate this data for digital transformation.

If enterprises are going to activate data on secondary storage for digital transformation, they are also going to need to be able to find the data they need for these initiatives. Yet, in many cases enterprises lack visibility into this data—only knowing what the data is in a general sense, rather than at a granular level. In addition, many siloed data management solutions provide only a partial view of data on secondary storage, with some data often hidden on storage arrays or cloud services managed by another solution. To secure granular search capabilities for all the data on their secondary storage, they need a comprehensive data platform that delivers a detailed, complete index of this data—wherever it is located. This index enables enterprises to not just find the data they need for digital transformation, but also to find it much quicker—accelerating these initiatives.

But finding this data is usually not enough—once an enterprise has found the data they need for a DevOps, data analytics, GDPR compliance, business continuity or other digital transformation initiative, they often need to access or move it. Yet, many data management solutions do not provide enterprises with the ability to access any type of data, or move it to any type of infrastructure or cloud. Without this capability, enterprises can find their digital transformation initiatives stymied, unable to quickly activate the data needed to make these initiatives successful.

To fully activate data on secondary storage, enterprises need a data and infrastructure-agnostic platform—able to access data of any kind, and move it to any kind of infrastructure. Being able to move all data on their secondary storage wherever they want extends the economic benefits of comprehensive data management, enabling the enterprise to move data to the secondary storage or other infrastructure that makes the most economic sense to store it on, given how often and in what ways they need to access it. In addition, by extending their ability to quickly access and migrate all of the data on their secondary storage, these platforms allow enterprises to easily activate this data to create new services for their customers, discover ideas on how to streamline their supply chains, reduce data privacy compliance risks, accelerate data recovery after a ransomware attack or to use it to develop other competitive advantages.

In today’s increasingly data-centric world, enterprises are realizing that, by activating data on their secondary storage, they can change the way they do business for the better. However, if they treat their secondary storage as a messy, forgotten junk drawer they will miss out on this opportunity. Comprehensive data platforms allow enterprises to turn these secondary storage junk drawers into organized tool boxes, allowing them to streamline secondary storage data management, find any data on secondary storage when they need it, access and move it, no matter what kind of data it is or where it is located. In doing so, these enterprises have the power to quickly, easily and cost-effectively activate their secondary storage data for digital transformation initiatives that improve business outcomes.