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Technology ROT – what is it, and how can you deal with it?

May 29, 2021

The amount of data being created each day is growing exponentially. At the beginning of 2020, the amount of data in the world was estimated to be 44 zettabytes. By 2025, it’s expected we will produce 463 exabytes daily. But not all of this data is useful and companies that hold onto data past its use-by date is an inefficient use of storage capacity.

According to a survey of IT leaders globally, an estimated 85% of all stored digital data is not business-critical. More than half of non-mission-critical data is dark, and about a third is ROT. ROT (redundant, obsolete or trivial) is digital documentation that an organisation continues to retain when the documented information no longer has business or legal value. An incredible 73% of company data isn’t even analysed.

Hoarding unnecessary data is costing businesses almost $US900 billion around the globe. Those costs are due to staffing to manage, maintain, plan and execute the best-fit infrastructure whether the data is stored on endpoints, the edge, or the core, i.e. traditional data servers and cloud data centres.

Data growth a gnarly issue

While solar power uptake and competition between providers have shrunk data storage costs, that benefit tends to be obliterated by the exponential increase in the amount of data going into storage.

The Australian data centre market will have a compound annual growth rate of 4.5% in the five years to 2026. To put energy consumption into perspective, by 2041, just the world’s data centres would use more power than the whole planet uses today. Consider the carbon footprint impact on the climate between now, then... and afterwards.

Reaching its limits

This is a key challenge: storage in data centres is finite. Throw into the mix Australia’s data sovereignty law which dictates data residency. That means data must be stored in data centres on our shores and follow privacy laws.

And there’s another problem – the main data storing mechanisms, magnetic tapes and silicon chips, are hitting their critical physical storage limit. They only last decades. Business needs better tech, particularly since research estimates that within 15 years, data storage demand will outpace silicon supply.

You probably have a lot of irrelevant, duplicate, or junk data that’s stored alongside useful or germane data. Data lakes and data warehouses offering online spaces for you to process and store data won’t solve the issue. They’ve been around for over a decade, but are proving increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches. Plus, it’s more work pre-processing the data before it’s stored.

Searching for solutions

On the horizon are disruptive technologies to the rescue, including:

They’ll take time to evolve to a commercial scale, but it’s good to keep them on your radar.

Meanwhile, enterprises are harnessing artificial intelligence for an array of applications, from analytics to cybersecurity. But, for AI to operate correctly using machine learning or natural language processing, for example, it needs good data. If your operations rely on AI to make a business-critical decision, how confident are you about your data?

Stop the ROT at the start

We often use AI to compress, ‘de-duplicate’ and squeeze data into small form factors. Just like next-generation defragging. However, such approaches don’t tackle the volume of data we can afford to manage better or simply delete.

So, to reduce overloading systems with data your business is unlikely to use, consider your collection and storage policies and practices, including:

  • Do your data storage strategy and budget focus on volumes or business value?
  • Does your IT team operate as if data storage in the cloud is free?
  • Are your staff overly using IT resources – including storage – for their personal use?

This is where you want to be - here are the benefits of a thorough assessment whether your data is stored on the cloud or on-premises:

  • Cost and management overhead savings from a slimmer data volume
  • Faster, more responsive business systems thanks to less data to process
  • Greater confidence in your data quality to ensure better decision-making
  • Improved insights into the river of gold hiding in plain sight in your data
  • Handing you short-to-medium-term roadmaps to guide you on optimal storage to reclaim wasted space – based on best practices
  • Allows you to divert resources elsewhere because cloud storage and IT costs will decrease.

Could your business benefit from an assessment of your IT infrastructure no matter who’s your technology vendor? We can help your business working alongside HPE data storage experts, from PointNext Consulting.

With HPE PointNext’s consulting service, we can offer your business an assessment on your technology ROT and make recommendations tailored to your specific needs. We will work through your data storage issues and provide a write-up outlining expert advice for your organisation.

Talk to us about how we can put you in touch with this exclusive offer so your business can banish ROT.

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