The Decade of Data

To get a full appreciation for the incredible pace of change in business technology, look at the past 6 years.

In 2014, IDC published a report that said that, by 2020, the digital universe would contain nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe, and the data we create and copy annually would reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. Guess what? It’s 2020. And it turns out IDC was correct in assuming that we were about to endure a data deluge.

Hybrid Default

Today, data is similar to a snowball going down a never-ending hill. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily by consumers and professionals globally at our current pace. Think about it: We are all producing data—both in our personal lives and in the business world—on the internet, social media, through texts, emails, digital photos—and don’t forget all of the data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT). Ninety percent of the data in the world today was generated just in the last few years.

A more recent IDC report has predicted that by 2025, worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes, with as much of the data residing in the cloud as in data centers. Because of this, industry experts are predicting that in the 2020s, traditional on-premise deployment of servers and applications—not cloud—will require justification. This complete changeover from the trends we’ve seen to date will introduce the new world of the “Hybrid Default.”

In many ways, data has always been taken for granted, and the folks who managed it—the DBAs—were doing all of the work behind the scenes. Today, data is quickly taking on increasing importance in the business realm, and it’s even more apparent what a critical role DBAs play in an organization. They are—and will increasingly be—the unsung heroes in every company, especially if the data growth predictions hold true. In many organizations, data is the new currency, and DBAs hold the keys to the vault. Their importance to the organizations they service cannot be underestimated.

Getting ‘Cloud Ready’

The 2020s certainly are shaping up to be the decade of data. CIOs’ big strategy will be making sure they can get their data ready to move the cloud. But what does “ready for the cloud” really mean?

Many enterprises are in such a rush to move as much of their business as possible to the cloud, they overlook the importance of data workload readiness. In increasingly complex DataOps environments, IT and data managers need to be able to deliver business-critical data without disruption and to mitigate the risk of distributed denial of service (DDoS) and similar attacks that impact cloud services. Smart enterprises are methodically migrating data workloads to the cloud, starting with less mission-critical workloads, and making sure they optimize their data for cloud applications.

We have seen the introduction and adoption of DevOps and DataOps, the new roles, processes, and technologies to enable the velocity of development and release cycles for data-centric apps, especially in the cloud. In this decade of data, we will see DataOps mature within the organization to assure value is extracted from growing data assets.

A New Era of Cooperation

As the decade progresses and organizations continue relying on multi-cloud and hybrid environments to drive their business, we’ll see CIOs take an increasing interest, and assume a larger role, in assuring that, cloud-based data gets to the business users who need it. Data will no longer be the “second-class citizen” it’s traditionally been. Business and IT will work hand in glove and jointly develop a clear vision and strategy for their cloud-based workloads. As IT becomes more agile with the data it is charged with managing, protecting, and optimizing, it will enable organizations to accelerate the continuous improvements to those services and applications that users want and need.

The 1920s were about people on the move—cars for the every person and new roads. Among the many byproducts of these advancements were much greater speed and agility in personal and business travel. Similarly, the 2020s will be about data on the move—from on-prem to the cloud. The most successful enterprise CIOs will work with their IT and data management teams to figure out how to seamlessly move data to the cloud, securely and without disruption, giving business users faster and more agile access to data where and when they need it. Hang onto your hats—this ride is going to be an exciting one!