Data-Aware Storage Extracts Insight from Unstructured Data

John Flores
February 5, 2020

Nearly two decades into the age of “big data,” many organizations are still struggling to effectively manage, analyze and extract insights from their data assets. One significant issue is a woeful lack of visibility into rapidly mounting volumes of unstructured data.

According to IDC analysts, about 80 percent of the data managed by the average company today is unstructured data such as email, audio, video, social media content, documents, instant messages and sensor data. Unstructured data will continue to grow faster than traditional transaction-based storage for the foreseeable future as we become increasingly reliant upon machine-generated data, mobile data and digital media.

Lacking a standardized format, unstructured data doesn’t fit neatly into row-and-column databases, which makes it difficult to search and analyze using traditional algorithms. As a result, few organizations are deriving any real value from this rich source of information. In a recent Deloitte survey of companies that consider themselves to be “data-driven” organizations, almost two-thirds said they rely exclusively upon structured data to inform their decision-making processes.

Clearly, organizations that only analyze 20 percent of their data assets are not getting a comprehensive view of their operations. In fact, the Deloitte survey showed that those who incorporate unstructured data into their analysis are far more likely to attain or exceed their business goals.

Scalability, Flexibility and Visibility

To become a truly data-driven company, organizations need tools that give them a holistic view of both structured and unstructured data, and make it simple for end-users to correlate information, identify trends and make decisions. It all starts with the right storage platform.

Organizations need a storage platform with three key capabilities — the scalability to handle massive data volumes, the flexibility to manage disparate data types and the analytics tools to create visibility into unstructured data. Qumulo’s hybrid cloud file storage solutions deliver on all counts.

Capable of running on both industry-standard hardware on-premises and natively in the cloud, Qumulo’s solutions can scale to billions of files by allowing organizations to move data between platforms as needed. This enables “cloud bursting” for workloads that typically run in-house but may periodically require the added capacity of a public cloud.

Integrated Analytics

Qumulo supports mixed workloads by storing all data in a single namespace, exposed across a variety of file-sharing protocols such as NFS, SMB, FTP and CLI. This approach consolidates storage silos, unifies workloads and gives vast numbers of users centralized access to files whether they are stored on-premises or in the cloud.

What really sets Qumulo apart are integrated analytics tools that give organizations real-time visibility into their unstructured data. The Qumulo Scalable File System (QSFS) can collect input from devices or applications, process that data and deliver reports in real time to a management dashboard. It provides visibility about storage usage, activity and throughput down to the file level, no matter how many files are in the system.

This increased data awareness helps storage administrators obtain instant answers about their data footprint by explaining usage patterns and which users or workloads are impacting their performance and capacity. With greater visibility into how data is generated, where it is stored and how users and applications are accessing it, Qumulo’s data-aware storage makes it easier to categorize, classify, score, visualize and report on data. Those are the types of insights that can improve data-driven decision-making.

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