The Devil is in the Details: Why Most Cloud and Storage Vendors Can’t Truly Claim They Do Multi-Vendor Data Management

The Devil is in the Details: Why Most Cloud and Storage Vendors Can’t Truly Claim They Do Multi-Vendor Data Management

Question: What is the most valuable asset in your data center or cloud today (apart from you)? 

Answer: Your data.

Question: What is causing the most cost and risk in your data center today? 

Answer: (you might have guessed it): Your data.

The Devil is in the Details: Why Most Cloud and Storage Vendors Can’t Truly Claim They Do Multi-Vendor Data Management

Most of the resources that are being deployed in IT today are aimed at generating, storing, and serving data to your customers and employees. Across all industries, data is growing at unprecedented rates and although it has the potential to bring business value, it can also bring substantial cost, risk, and pain to not only you but everyone in the data chain (i.e., all your customers and staff).

Failing to manage your organization’s unstructured data is no longer an option. You need the tools to do it quickly, safely, and securely across your entire data storage estate whether that be on-premises or in the cloud, in a single data center, or around the world.

The good news is, as we saw recently in GigaOm’s new report Building a Modern Data Management Strategy, data management tools are playing a key role in meeting unstructured data management challenges in large enterprises. The report uncovers the issues enterprises face when building hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure, and the increasing need for unstructured data management.

As report author Enrico Signoretti put it, “Because of data growth, data management is now a necessity in order to understand data and know what to do with it. The first step towards a sustainable long-term data storage strategy is to understand what, how, and why we save in our storage systems and then take actions depending on the business and operational needs.”

Storage vendors and cloud providers have seen this need and are hastily assembling tools to help, but they are all lacking in at least one critical element: they are not vendor-neutral. After all, no one except you has a vested interest in managing your data across multiple storage systems and clouds from multiple vendors.

Of course, many of these tools do purport to be useful across multiple storage systems and clouds, but are they really? The simple answer is no! 

Why Most Cloud and Storage Vendors Cannot Claim to Be “Vendor-Neutral” 

Firstly, these tools are an add-on to a storage or cloud product and do not get the attention they need within the various engineering departments. Secondly, no vendor is a technical expert of any other vendor. They don’t have data centers full of their competitors’ products so they can understand at the deepest darkest levels the myriad of idiosyncrasies that exist between them (trust us, we have seen it all and there are thousands of differences). Some of the tools lack even the most basic requirements for managing unstructured data such as the ability to scale, carry out integrity checking, work at extreme speed, and so on.

These tools can be fine for managing a single storage type from a single vendor, but if you have any kind of even mildly complex setup, you need a dedicated vendor-neutral way of managing that data. 

Backup vendors are also trying to take a crack at the job but for them it all starts with, you guessed it, a backup and typically to their ‘storage’ platform. 

When it comes to unstructured data management, backup is the most inefficient place to start. The fundamental problem with the backup approach to managing unstructured data is that you are actually managing your backup copies and not the real source data. A proper unstructured data management solution starts with knowing the details about every single file as they exist on your primary storage system and being able to apply categorization and actions to those files. 

Another common theme of these non-vendor-neutral approaches is that the vendor providing the solution has a level of ownership of the data. In other words, without their “management solution” data cannot be accessed — it’s trapped within yet another vendor’s offering. 

Truly Vendor-Neutral Solutions will be Crucial in 2022 and Beyond 

Vendor-neutral solutions that can truly provide the requirements to manage vast amounts of unstructured data — keeping it on the primary storage systems and applying visualization, analytics, tagging, and data mobility capabilities — allow the primary storage systems to continue to function as normal and do not impact client access and the all-important data is not held hostage in the name of “management.”

As GigaOm’s report states, “In this journey towards a modern data management strategy, users should embrace solutions that can deliver a solid foundation for day-to-day operations today while providing a clear path to next generation features that will be adopted when the organization and the business are ready.”

In an era where unstructured data is part of the fabric of modern business, these perspectives are compelling. To read more, download a full copy of the GigaOm report by clicking here.