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How to stop your data lake from turning into a data swamp

By Sara Barker
Wed 12 Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Data is everywhere, but it’s only really useful when it’s put to work at the right time, in the right context, and for the right reasons.

According to one report by Seagate and IDC, titled Rethink Data: Put More of Your Data to Work—From Edge to Cloud, as much as 68% of an organisation’s data is untapped and wasted.

This is due in part to the unprecedented growth of data – and infinite ways to manage it.

You have probably heard the term ‘data lake’, which suggests that there is a wealth of fresh raw, unrefined data waiting to be actioned.  

However, organisations have an unfortunate habit of collecting and dumping late into one place, without gleaning insights from that data. A data lake can quickly turn in to stagnant ‘data swamp’, clogged up with old data that may (or may not) be useful.

To realise the value of data and to prevent data from turning into a swamp, it must be put to work. However, for many organisations that’s easier said than done. After all, collecting data is easy – it’s gleaning the intelligence that’s the difficult part. 

According to the report, a good data correlation plan must relate to a business objective. If an organisation doesn't have an objective, data hoarding won't provide any useful insights.

“The report and the survey make clear that winning businesses must have strong mass data operations,” says Seagate CEO Dave Mosley.  “The value that a company derives from data directly affects its success.”

Business challenges

According to the report, the top five issues that prevent organisations from really putting data to work include:

•    making collected data usable (39%)
•    managing the storage of collected data (37%)
•    ensuring that needed data is collected (36%)
•    ensuring the security of collected data (35%)
•    making the different silos of collected data available (30%).

On top of that, many organisations are trying to manage data security and deal with data in different environments, such as multi-clouds and hybrid cloud.

How to manage data in motion and at rest

Modern data management solutions should be able to resolve the challenges identified in the report, and they should be able to help businesses understand their data, regardless of whether that data is in motion or dormant.

The report suggests that organisations can achieve successful data management in a number of ways, starting with smart data storage solutions.

Key challenges in data storage can include a range of non-standard architectures, different storage technologies, a lack of visibility, and cost.

By using a single pane of glass, Seagate says that organisations can see all of the stored data, creating a unified storage system that works across multiple cloud and hybrid environments. 

Another solution could be storage virtualization, which would allow the single pane of glass to be a data storage management software layer.

The bottom line for business owners is that by using smart data storage solutions, businesses have a simple, unobstructed view into their data.

DataOps - simplifying major data challenges

It's clear that with challenges such as unprecedented data growth, putting that data to use, and storing that data across multiple environments, there needs to be a way to unify data management in a way that suits organisations, customers, and shareholders.

DataOps is becoming known as the 'missing link' in data management. It is neither a technology nor a process, but a way to connect data consumers (for example business decision-makers) with data creators, such as people and machines.

DataOps uses technologies such as machine learning and data ingestion to consolidate data from multiple sources into a data lake. This brings disparate data systems into an understandable entity, which can then be leveraged in a smart way to drive innovation and transformation in the enterprise.

For more insights about how to best save your data lake from becoming a data swamp, visit Seagate's Rethink Data website and download the report.

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