Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blueprint: The Year of Actionable Data

by Rod Bagg, vice president of customer support at Nimble Storage

As more businesses strive to become data-driven, business leaders will rely heavily on IT teams to easily access, manage and leverage the value of that data in the coming year. In 2016, IT departments will become increasingly focused on keeping data secure and optimized in a way that not only keeps operations flowing, but delivers real value and positive results back to the enterprise.

Additionally, as seen with this year’s growth in the data-storage market, storage infrastructure, scalability and reliability will play a pivotal role in this focus on actionable data as they continue to drive growth and provide intelligence back to IT teams. In the following article, I’ve outlined the top data-focused trends that executives should keep top of mind for their organizations in 2016.

Data Transforms into Actionable Intelligence

CIOs heavily rely on operational intelligence when making strategic decisions. However, with the growing complexity of today’s data center, IT teams are often tied up managing a range of supporting applications, compute platforms, networking, storage and infrastructure. Given these many moving parts, businesses can no longer count on IT teams to gather and assess all of the massive amounts of data within organizations and derive useful actions. Instead, storage vendors who have deep knowledge of interactions across the entire infrastructure will need to take initiative in delivering intelligence to data-center teams. There will be no room for guesswork — prescriptive actions based on sound scientific data analysis will become the order of the day.

New Flash Capabilities Dominate Performance

In the last year, high-performing, flash-optimized storage solutions have become the standard for many in the space. We have now reached the point where performance in storage has been democratized, changing the way people will evaluate storage options as performance will no longer be the primary differentiating factor. Instead, as businesses increasingly generate and harness data, competitive edge will be determined by a solution’s ability to handle the mass amounts of data accumulated through various channels. This will shift the focus from performance to other capabilities such as the array’s reliability, data integrity, scalability, manageability and in-built data-protection.

The Internet of Things Weaves its Way into the Data Center

In 2016, we will see the Internet of Things (IoT) move beyond consumers and businesses and head straight to the heart of data centers. As part of this shift, infrastructure components deployed in the data center will evolve to become armed with thousands of sensors, generating immense amounts of data to support predictive analytics. Self-monitoring and self-optimizing data centers will become the norm, ultimately delivering cloud-like experiences even when customers have infrastructure on-premises or in managed service provider environments.

Data Scientists Strengthen IT Teams

With the complexity of today’s data centers and operations, IT teams face an overwhelming amount of data-related issues and failures. This is where we will see data scientists increasingly step in to help companies pinpoint the exact origin of those problems and design solutions through data analytics. By dissecting trillions of data points, data scientists are able to study the information to not only solve IT problems, but also extract strategic actions. This will make data scientists a key competitive advantage for enterprise IT teams as they face increasing workloads and intricate data infrastructures.

As volumes of data continue to rise and data science plays a more critical role in IT operations and infrastructure, 2016 will be the year of the intelligent, data-driven enterprise. This focus on actionable insight will not only drive productivity for IT teams, but also give CIOs and businesses the tools to finally unlock the real value of their data.

About the Author

Rod Bagg is the Vice President of Worldwide Customer Support at Nimble Storage and drives support automation and advanced data science initiatives. Rod joined Nimble in 2009 and designed and developed advanced remote support features within Nimble OS and went on to conceive and develop InfoSight, which is now recognized as a clear differentiator in the industry for advanced cloud-based Operational Analytics and Storage Life-cycle Management.

Prior to Nimble Storage, Rod served as Vice President of Engineering at Glassbeam, where he co-founded the Glassbeam data analytics Software-as-a-Service offering. Additionally, Rod has held senior management positions at Infloblox and at NetApp where he was responsible for product support, support automation and RAS initiatives. Rod has also held engineering management and development positions creating high-availability telephony platforms and systems.

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