2022 Survey: The Top Five Trends in Unstructured Data Management

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Komprise announces the results of its second annual survey on unstructured data management, highlighting demand for cloud file storage, user self-service and big data analytics workflows.

Have we reached the unstructured data tipping point? With global data volumes careening into the zettabytes, enterprise IT leaders are feeling the pains of complexity from data growth across hybrid data storage silos and the spiraling costs to manage it all. In our latest survey of IT leaders, the Komprise 2022 State of Unstructured Data Management, we uncovered some key trends as relates to data growth, data storage, data management and data analytics. You can download the full report here.

In the meantime, this blog covers some of the highlights:

Data Growth & Spending

  • More than 50% of organizations are managing 5PB or more of data, compared with less than 40% in 2021.
  • Nearly 68% are spending more than 30% of their IT budget on data storage, backups and disaster recovery—similar to 2021.
  • Nearly 70% said they would spend more on storage YoY, compared with 62% in 2021.

Top Challenges

With data growth and spending accelerating, it’s no surprise that IT organizations are focusing more on unstructured data management. In 2022, 87% of IT leaders rate managing unstructured data growth as a top priority, up from 70% in 2021.

Leading challenges in 2022 include moving data to the cloud without disrupting users and applications, the high costs of data storage and backups, hindered visibility into data’s characteristics and complying with laws and regulations.

What are your top challenges with unstructured data management today?

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Trend #1: User Self-Service

When asked what benefits they expected from moving unstructured data to the cloud, the majority (56%) of IT executives were most interested in cutting costs. Yet the second-highest expected benefit (43%) is to improve self-service for end users and departments.

In data management, self-service typically refers to the ability for authorized users outside of storage disciplines to search, tag and enrich and act on data through automation—such as a research scientist wanting to continuously export project files to a cloud analytics service.

Trend #2: Moving Data to Analytics Platforms

Unstructured data has been a missing ingredient in business intelligence. Yet now that machine learning (ML) programs rely upon large quantities of data and can deliver new insights from chats, texts, sensor data and multimedia files, IT’s job is get the right data into the right platforms. A majority (65%) of organizations plan to or are already delivering unstructured data to their big data analytics platforms. Another top new and related approach for unstructured data management is the ability to initiate and execute data workflows. A legal hold workflow could be: find all data related to a divestiture project, execute an external function to identify PII data and tag it and then move the sensitive data to an object-locked cloud storage bucket.

What new approaches to unstructured data management are you taking or plan to take?

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Trend #3: Cloud File Storage Gains Favor

As organizations seek to optimize data storage efficiency and by moving more data to the cloud, new file storage options are attracting attention. Cloud NAS topped the list for storage investments in the next year (47%), followed closely by cloud object storage (44%). Large storage vendors such as NetApp have popular cloud NAS offerings alongside cloud-native offerings such as Amazon FSx and Azure Files. These services are ideal for active or “hot” data requiring high performance and response times; rarely-accessed or “cold” data can live on object storage which delivers significant cost savings for long-term storage.

In the next 12 months, which of the following do you plan to expand?

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Trend #4: User Expectations Beg Attention

The largest obstacle to unstructured data management, more so than the high cost of storage, relates to user experience; organizations want to move data without disrupting users and applications (42%). What happens typically is that IT will move files to the cloud or secondary storage and then users cannot find the files. This creates conflicts between users and IT, lost productivity and business risk.

Trend #5: IT and Storage Directors want Flexibility

A top goal for unstructured data management (42%) is to adopt new storage and cloud technologies without incurring extra licensing penalties and costs, such as cloud egress fees. As choice grows in hybrid cloud infrastructure, organizations may also wish to switch back and forth between technologies (such as cloud providers and cloud storage classes) as needed to meet shifting business goals and user requirements. Understanding proprietary requirements and “hidden fees” of storage technologies and cloud services prior to purchase is critical to avoid vendor lock-in. Independent data management solutions can also help navigate these tricky waters by offering a data-centric approach that works across all storage.

What are your top objectives for improving your unstructured data management strategy?

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Check out the full report here, to get all the statistics on unstructured data management trends.

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You can also read last year’s report here.

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