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Unstructured Data Storage

What is Unstructured Data Storage?

Unstructured data storage is the storage of data that does not adhere to a predefined data model or schema. Unlike structured data, which fits neatly into tables with rows and columns, unstructured data lacks a specific organization and may include various file types, such as text documents, images, videos, audio files, emails, social media posts, and more.

Read the article: Here’s How to Take Control of Unstructured Data

Gartner on unstructured data storage

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Each year Gartner publishes the Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage.

Gartner defines distributed file systems and object storage as software and hardware appliance products that offer object and distributed file system technologies for unstructured data. Their purpose is to store, secure, protect and scale unstructured data with access over the network using file and object protocols, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Network File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB).

Gartner also has a Primary Data Storage Magic Quadrant, as summarized in this Blocks & Files article.

Common requirements for unstructured data storage

  • Flexibility: Unstructured data storage systems are flexible and can accommodate various types of data without requiring predefined schemas. This flexibility allows organizations to store and manage diverse data types efficiently.
  • Scalability: Unstructured data storage solutions are often designed to scale easily, allowing organizations to handle massive volumes of data as their storage requirements grow over time.
  • Indexing and Search: Effective management of unstructured data involves indexing and search capabilities to quickly locate and retrieve specific information within large datasets. This may involve metadata tagging, full-text search, and other techniques to facilitate data discovery. See unstructured data classification.
  • Object Storage: Object storage is a common approach to storing unstructured data, where each piece of data is stored as an object with a unique identifier and metadata. Object storage systems provide scalability, durability, and accessibility for large-scale unstructured data environments.
  • Cloud Storage: Many organizations leverage cloud storage services for unstructured data storage due to their scalability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Cloud providers offer a range of storage options, including object storage, file storage, and content delivery networks (CDNs), to accommodate different types of unstructured data.
  • Data Governance and Security: Managing unstructured data requires robust data governance practices to ensure compliance, data security, and privacy protection. This may involve implementing access controls, encryption, data classification, and audit trails to safeguard sensitive information.

Effective storage and unstructured data management are essential for organizations to derive insights, make data-driven decisions, and unlock the value of their data assets.

Unstructured Data Storage Vendors

Many vendors offer solutions for storing unstructured data, each with its own set of features, capabilities, and pricing models. Here are some notable vendors in the unstructured data storage space:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) (AWS S3) is a highly scalable object storage service designed for storing and retrieving any amount of data. It is commonly used for unstructured data storage and offers features such as versioning, lifecycle management, and security features. Learn more about Komprise for AWS.
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure Blob Storage provides scalable, cost-effective storage for unstructured data. It offers tiered storage options, access controls, and integration with other Azure services for data analytics and processing. Learn more about Komprise for Azure.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Google Cloud Storage is a scalable object storage solution suitable for storing unstructured data. It provides features such as versioning, lifecycle management, and integration with other GCP services. Learn more about Komprise for Google. 
  • IBM: IBM Cloud Object Storage: IBM offers Cloud Object Storage, a scalable, secure, and durable object storage service. It is designed to support large-scale unstructured data storage and offers features such as encryption, access controls, and global data distribution. Learn more about Komprise for IBM.
  • Dell: Dell EMC Isilon, now Dell PowerScale, is a scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) platform designed for storing and managing large volumes of unstructured data. It offers high performance, scalability, and multi-protocol support for various data types. Learn about Komprise Elastic Data Migration for Isilon.
  • NetApp: NetApp StorageGRID is an object storage solution from NetApp that enables organizations to store, manage, and protect unstructured data at scale. It offers features such as geo-distribution, data tiering, and policy-based management. Learn more about Komprise for NetApp.
  • Pure Storage: Pure Storage FlashBlade is a scalable, all-flash storage platform designed for unstructured data workloads. It offers high performance, simplicity, and native support for file, object, and analytics workloads.

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HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise): For years it has been HPE Nimble Storage, which offers a range of storage solutions, including Nimble Storage dHCI and Nimble Storage All Flash Arrays, suitable for storing unstructured data. HPE now resells VAST Data solutions as HPE File Services.

Qumulo: Qumulo’s Scale Anywhere™ platform is a 100% software solution for hybrid enterprises to efficiently store and manage file & object data at the edge, in the core, and in the cloud

These are some examples of vendors providing solutions for unstructured data storage.

Optimize unstructured data storage with Komprise

Komprise Intelligent Data Management frees you to analyze, mobilize, and access the right file and object data across clouds without shackling your data to any unstructured data storage vendor. Komprise helps enterprise customers optimize data storage costs by right-sizing and right-placing
data, while making it easy for users to unlock data value with smart data workflows.

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