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By 12 November 2020 | Categories: feature articles

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By Ossama El Samadoni, Sr. Sales Director – MERAT, Dell Technologies

2020 has been a year of unprecedented change for businesses globally and in the region. The onset of the pandemic brought with it the pressing need to accelerate digital transformation, especially to enable remote working across sectors. In a matter of days, companies had to upgrade their legacy infrastructure and equip employees to operate from anywhere.

At the core of this transformation is data, and the need to secure and analyse this data to gain business insights. In fact, IDC forecasts that the Global DataSphere is expected to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025 driven by investments in new emerging technologies. As we enter the data decade, enterprise data storage has become critical. According to a recent report from Coherent Market Insights, the GCC and Levant’s data storage market is set to reach a record-high of $8.5 billion by 2027, nearly tripling from $2.9 billion in 2019.

In data storage – which touches every IT-driven business – the pace of innovation is accelerating, yet most enterprises continue to struggle with data’s explosive growth and velocity. Getting the highest use and value from their data is becoming ever more critical for organisations, especially for those with data stores reaching exabyte scale.

There are three key industries that often go unnoticed in discussions around enterprise storage - namely transportation, power and manufacturing. In the highly competitive transportation industry, speed and differentiation are key. A wide range of organisations, from suppliers to mobility providers are scaling infrastructures at the edge, bringing vehicles and intelligence closer. They’re also scaling at the core and cloud to handle exponential data growth with agility. Challenges like enabling autonomous vehicles to drive is incredibly data and compute intensive. The ability to achieve feats like this requires an agile, integrated, software-defined infrastructure enabled by purpose-built storage solutions for automotive workflows. A case in point would be the racing industry which went far and beyond. With data analytics at the edge and core, data insights are used to develop and update more than 150,000 parts in a racing car to achieve better performance.

Next is the manufacturing sector that continues to be powered by technology. From integration to automation, tech is helping companies innovate faster and make things smarter and more efficient every day. Industrial progress has been at the center of human advancement for centuries and data is driving the rise of Industry 4.0. Companies in this sector are increasingly seeking versatile, performance-centric storage solutions built for operational simplicity and agility, and managing a distributed process across geographies with proper scaling and connectivity.

Finally, the energy and utilities sector continues to evolve powered by storage technologies. To move forward their digital transformation, energy companies are getting deeper deployments on the digital oil field. With the use of cloud-like realisation of diverse data models that allows better cross insights throughout the globe, utility companies are deploying edge and IoT devices to manage and monitor electricity at a higher level of granularity than in the past. Importantly, they also need a modern distributed storage architecture and analytics capabilities to store and analyse the data collected. This will deliver real time insights that meet changing business demands, while delivering actionable intelligence.

With the need for a revolutionary and agile infrastructure that can adapt to applications models, from being scale-up performance intensive to cloud native applications that are aiming at creating data at edge, core and cloud is a major functionality that customers need to look for. As there is no one-size-fits-all, the emergence of multiple storage technologies is underway.

Focus is placed on how we can manage such diverse technologies under a single pane of glass that allows data management and applications servicing regardless of where the application is or what the application technologies being used are. We are proud of our development so far and what we continue to do to provide the infrastructure medium for such transformations to be successful and productive.

But with this explosion of data comes considerable threats. With data security becoming an important point of discussion, the question is not if the data is at risk of being breached, but when. Security adoption isn’t happening at the same rate as risks are increasing, and with over 350,000 new threats identified each day, it is vital for businesses to understand the evolving threat landscape, what can be done to ward off threats, and what’s next in cybersecurity.

From human error to attacks beneath the OS, corporate data breaches are on the rise as hackers continue to remain one step ahead. By continuously evolving their tactics to compromise systems and endpoints, organisations need to engage a strong defence strategy by prioritising security from the onset. It is vital to have the framework and technologies to provide security at the edge and on the storage itself, manage the risk in terms of data resiliency, and finally doing that in a consistent manageable manner.

The way forward for organisations is to create an enterprise-wide data strategy that meets the needs of everyone but still maintains the strengths of each functional area.

As we look at technology requirements today and beyond 2020, one thing is clear. Storage will be architected and consumed as software-defined and the lines between storage and compute will continue to blur, as organizations demand unparalleled agility and simplicity for business-critical IT infrastructure to respond effectively to rapidly changing market dynamics.

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