WANdisco is now Cirata
Data Integration , Data modernization , Unstructured data .

Managing massive data sets: the power of unstructured data

In our increasingly digital global business ecosystem, unstructured data is on the rise. Today, unstructured data makes up more than 80% of business data. Whether stored internally on a server or externally in the cloud, masses of data left unorganized can become a challenge for organizations – when it should be an asset.

That’s why many organizations are now looking to collect their unstructured data and make sense of it to make quicker, more informed decisions that help them gain a competitive advantage. In this blog, we will explore how organizations can manage these new large and unstructured data sets.

A growth story

Unstructured data comprises disparate sources of information that businesses collect outside of their internal structured data formats. This can include financial systems like ERP and database technologies. While structured data is standardized, clearly defined, and searchable data, unstructured data is usually stored in its native format and lacks the pre- defined data model that would enable data scientists to prepare and analyze the data they need.

Gartner reports that large organizations’ unstructured data sets typically grow around 30-33% per year. This increase is set to see unstructured data reaching 80% of a company’s data estate, on average, by the end of 2025.

At Cirata, we work with many organizations, large and small, to help them manage these growing data sets. On average, we are seeing a significant increase in unstructured data, with one customer reporting a 50% year-on-year growth in their unstructured data estate. As unstructured data increases, Chief Data Officers are becoming just as important as Chief Information Officers due to their ability to determine and drive data strategies throughout organizations.

Large and in charge

Organizing unstructured data can be a challenge. If it’s not properly managed, it can bring increased costs due to the need to back it up and store it. Businesses need to be able to capture, process and store unstructured data to extract the valuable insights it contains. But capturing large volumes of data can put pressure on existing storage capacity if organizations don’t have adequate storage planning solutions in place.

This issue of storage capacity isn’t just a question of where to put all the bits and bytes. It has an environmental impact too. Many companies have to physically fly or ship data around the world because they're collecting so much information and lack alternative ways to move it live and at scale. The large containers used to ship data often need to be moved using trucks or planes, which incur a relatively high carbon cost due to their size. With data sets continually increasing in size and quantity, the carbon cost from just moving data can mount up if it’s not mitigated.

When organizations update on-premises data, whether it’s to another premises or into the cloud, they also need to ensure their data isn’t out of sync, which can cause delays in accessing information as well as inaccuracies in analysis.

Data in motion

To manage the rising amounts of unstructured data, Cirata uses its cloud-agnostic technology to enable organizations to move data from or to cloud services such as Cloudera, Databricks or AWS without any latency in the way they report. Our track record includes moving data at such a scale, that if each byte were a drop of water, it would fill 40,000,000 Olympic swimming pools. We move data in a way that ensures that when it arrives at its new destination, it is not even one minute out of sync and is still consistent with the on-premises live version.

Cirata removes the need for potentially costly data backups, which can involve migrating data from on-premises into a staging environment and incur storage costs. For example, we helped one organization save about $3 million a year by moving eight petabytes of data onto Google Cloud Platform and eliminating these large costs.

We also helped another client, the Korean Bioinformation Center, improve the performance of their Covid-19 research through 13 times faster data transfers between heterogeneous file systems. Thanks to Cirata’s work, the average analysis time of services were shortened by more than 30%, and the Center gained faster response times and an environment where they could perform their research more efficiently.

Our unique ability to move large nodes live, at scale, and at pace not only boosts organizational efficiency, it realizes the hidden value of one of companies’ biggest assets: its data. As unstructured data continues to grow, we are continuing to find new ways to help companies to manage, organize and simplify massive datasets to reduce storage costs and realise the power of unstructured data.

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