One key attribute of humankind is our ability to take information learned by an individual or group and pass that knowledge onto others. This transformative process allows each subsequent generation to build upon the accumulated wisdom and experiences of those who came before us so that we are not continually re-inventing the wheel. The aggregate of this information continues to grow at amazing speed as organizations produce, store and disseminate data through compute networks that reach a global audience.
Just as the way we share knowledge has changed over the millennia, the way we produce, store and disseminate information has too. From data center mainframes the size of a house to microprocessors that fit in the palm of your hand, from reels of tape to bits of information on flash media, data management is an ongoing process that continues to utilize technology that has worked successfully in the past as well as new innovations that allow us to do the same activities more efficiently.
The conundrum for many organizations is how to tie together all the various disparate data sources that propel the knowledgebase forward.
Introducing the Data Fabric
One way to accomplish this feat is through the implementation of a “data fabric.” In essence, a data fabric is software that virtualizes an organization’s storage infrastructure to create a unified data management solution. The data fabric weaves together all of an organization’s storage systems across all of its physical and cloud locations to facilitate the copying and movement of data based upon policies created by the IT staff. Through this common thread approach, the data fabric ensures all existing and future storage resources are jointly managed to provide ultimate access, control, protection, and security of business-critical information.
This software-defined storage approach to data management eliminates siloed storage and creates a multi-site, multi-cloud ecosystem that can be managed from a single, centralized dashboard as though all resources were part of the same solution. Policies can be deployed across the entire data fabric to ensure all sites are governed by the same corporate mandates compliant with security and governance regulations. Data can be automatically and intelligently moved between locations for improved collaboration or from old systems to new ones for quick and easy hardware refreshes. By bringing hardware and software under the same data management framework, a data fabric ensures data protection, eliminates headaches when decommissioning and adding storage hardware, and reduces overall storage management costs.
Business Benefits of the Data Fabric
With a data fabric, organizations are better able to meet business demands for ultimate competitive advantage. Leveraging corporate-wide data provides business agility, a cohesive business environment and improved efficiency across sites, departments, and teams. Data fabric-based storage environments are well positioned to utilize existing storage resources while building next-generation data centers without downtime. They can leverage snapshot technology to ensure recoverability with zero data loss, ensuring that operations are uninterrupted due to hardware failure or ransomware attempts. And advanced data fabrics can offer additional features, such as optimized workloads utilizing the least-cost storage resources available while meeting assigned service level agreements.
In much the same way that improvements in communication have escalated human knowledge, how data is stored and managed can provide exponential improvements in business agility. Data fabrics allow data centers within organizations to bring together disparate pools of information into one cohesive software-defined solution to provide business continuity, data durability and availability, and cost-optimized storage that elevates the value of information. By harnessing the power of this information across sites and into the cloud, organizations have the ability to focus on innovation and profitability rather than maintaining the status quo.
About the Author
Andrew Flint is the co-founder of Nevex Software with over 20 years of marketing and product management experience. At ioFABRIC, Andrew is VP of Marketing and responsible for all aspects of marketing and product direction, including positioning and messaging, marketing campaigns, product direction, as well as customer, market, and competitive analysis.