The federal government handles enormous amounts of data. It maintains much of our personal information, like Social Security and tax records. It collects data across industries for analysis and reporting, and it also generates more data on its own.
Additionally, the rapid growth of mobile devices and apps, cloud solutions and smart sensors feed even more data into the mix.
By the year 2020, it’s estimated that 7 billion people will be connected to the Internet with 30 billion devices, generating 44 zettabytes of data.
What does that much data look like?
Well, if a typical computer disk is 500 gigabytes, you would need 88 billion drives to hold 44 zettabytes of data.
In short, agencies are experiencing the Big Bang of digital information growth. Whether it exists in databases or as unstructured data (such as text and multimedia files), it all must be stored as efficiently as possible.
The storage industry predicts that by 2020:
- 25 percent of data center storage will be flash (which is in solid-state memory, not on a spinning hard disk)
- 75 percent of enterprises will have adopted some manner of cloud technology
- 90 percent of unstructured data will be kept in scale-out storage (which lets you add disks as needed)
Consider the diverse workloads involved with government data. National defense creates a huge amount of intelligence and cybersecurity information, along with video surveillance footage. Many departments perform big data analytics and use high-performance computing. There’s also climate research, health care, and general information management — all of which deal with data.
These diverse workloads pose challenges to IT staff and agency leads in the form of siloed data, the volume of data and mobility and regulatory risks.
Siloed data is under the control of one department. Data that’s buried in silos is not readily available to other agencies, hampering information sharing. Siloed data can result in poor policy decisions, inefficient planning, and too many or too few resources.
The staggering volumes of data affect the government’s ability to provide real-time and historical data. Plus, long regulatory retention periods affect the amount of storage needed.
There are also mobility risks. Multi-vendor solutions add complexity to data collection and storage. Administrators lack a single point of management, increasing their effort and the risk of security breaches. And multi-vendor solutions are usually not budget-friendly.
Finally, federal regulations require government data to be protected, controlled and unchanged in storage. Failing to protect confidential data can have devastating effects on individual citizens — and even national security.
With so much data to be stored, agencies need a flexible and easily managed solution. In the next lesson, we’ll talk about how to solve this data problem with a scale-out network-attached storage platform.
Click here to watch the next lesson. This post is an excerpt from our recent course, “Solving Data Challenges with Network-Attached Storage,” created in partnership with Dell.