As cloud computing alters the IT landscape, data is the only thing that organisations maintain any control over.
Ironically, one of the more uncomfortable things about cloud computing is that it shines a spotlight on data management and governance. However, the data management skills of most IT organisations are sorely lacking, so when someone suggests that they need to start using cloud computing, the first thing that comes to mind is how they will manage their data.
“Nobody wants to admit that they might have a data management issue. It’s much easier to object to cloud computing on the grounds of security issues,” says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting. “But like it or not, cloud computing is coming, and with it a need to focus on data management and governance.”
The scale of data is exploding. According to a study IDC did last year about enterprise storage needs, over the next five years structured data (the traditional row-and-column information contained in relational databases) will grow at a 20+% rate. However, unstructured data will grow at a 60% compounded rate during the same time frame.
This results in structured data storage requirements doubling, while unstructured data storage requirements will increase seven-fold. In other words, application scale is increasing – dramatically so.
Naidoo points out that while data is the life blood of any organisation, too much data can slow application and reporting performance and tax IT resources.
“Experts agree that as much as 80% of data in enterprise production databases for core applications such as ERP, CRM, and corporate financials is no longer in active use, and slows application performance by as much as 50%. Much of this data, however, needs to be retained for compliance and business needs such as decision support and trend analysis,” he says.
Effective data management is the key to retiring obsolescent applications, freeing expensive staff and shutting down or reassigning the expensive hardware they run on. It keeps vital enterprise applications such as corporate financials, ERP, and CRM at maximum performance levels.
It empowers tiered data management of corporate databases using business policies, providing the most efficient and cost-effective access to the data on which the business runs.
However, Naidoo says that far too many early adopters of the cloud computing paradigm have skimped on management tools in the name of simplicity, resulting in much of the resistance to cloud computing seen today.
“When all is said and done, this data management and governance issue will slow the migration to cloud infrastructure more than any other. But like most things IT, it’s a solvable problem that frankly requires discipline. In fact, when you think about cloud computing at its highest level, it’s all about imposing discipline and repeatable processes on IT practices. But none of that can happen unless we can manage the data.”
He adds that the key to effective data management is through effective use of the right tools. One of these is the Solix range of data management products, a fully integrated set of leading-edge tools for managing data holistically to ensure compliance, manage cost, improve performance and operational efficiencies, and maximise data security.
Represented exclusively in South Africa by Logikal Consulting, Solix offers effective data governance and management and application portfolio management, as well as the retirement of obsolescent applications, which Gartner and other experts agree is a key to efficient IT operations.
“It gives IT and the business control over its vital structured data through consistent enforcement of business rules across the enterprise. Solix is a global leader in this area. Data management is, at once, a highly specialised field and one that is critically important for many of our enterprise clients, especially in financial services.
“The solutions from Solix Technologies support an agile business approach that offer the highest security without unrealistic capital expenditure. And with the future of computing being in the cloud, businesses can’t afford to ignore the benefits a good data management solution can provide,” Naidoo concludes.