In 2014, IDC estimated the world was creating 4.4 zettabytes (or 4.4 trillion gigabytes) of data per annum. IDC predicts by 2020 this number will climb to 44 zettabytes per annum.
Inside your business, you’ll see data growth in the form of unstructured data, like documents, e-mail and the ever-growing list of digital communications taking place across instant messaging platforms sanctioned by your IT policy.
Add to this the big data trend that’s sweeping the digital world and you’re in a world of pain. Where do you store every piece of behavioral data you’re being encouraged to collect on every interaction with your business (providing you’ve got your customers consent, of course, with GDPR and other policies coming to the fore)?
More disk is not the solution:
Trying to keep up with growing data volumes in your business by throwing more local disk at the problem is quite simply a race to the bottom – and a great deal of bottom-line expense.
That’s because you can’t simply store data in your business without sorting it, backing It up and ensuring it’s accessible. And each time you add more storage to the mix, you’ll need capital – and in all likelihood another IT staffer to manage it.
A vast array of options:
Another challenge with trying to manage your business’s ever-growing storage volumes locally is choosing appropriate infrastructure (and the requisite performance, security and resilience requirements).
Cloud storage allows you to choose options based on the kind of data you’ll be storing.
Where Azure Disk and Queue storage is something you’ll use mostly if you’re running virtual infrastructure in the cloud, Blob and File Storage are great for meeting your storage-only needs.
File and Blob:
As its name suggests, File storage caters for businesses that want to create file shares in the cloud and have them accessible from anywhere (obviously servers), even client devices. This type of storage works great for both on-premise and cloud deployments of Windows, Linux, and macOS. The techies will be happy to know that this is done with the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.
Worried about performance, well then enable caching on your Azure File shares with Azure File Sync, and the data will be co-located on an on-premise Windows server i.e. nearer to where it’s being used.
Azure Blob storage (what a cool name) is perfect for unstructured data and data volumes that grow fast (and shrink fast) and can be located in the cloud (true set and forget stuff). Blob storage has massive capacity and allows for you to choose options like hot, cool or archive tiers, depending on how often the data needs to be accessed.
The best part is, you’re only billed for what you use, so there’s no more buying racks of storage and then using them as time goes by.