Why Secondary Data is Core to Digital Transformation

In today's digital world, data is being generated, stored and analysed at a faster rate than ever before, with IDC forecasting a 10-fold rise in worldwide data by 2025. This deluge of data growth is becoming a challenge for businesses that are undergoing digital transformation. Part of the problem is that organisations are commonly hoarding their data, afraid of throwing anything out for fear that it may hold some kind of business value.

As they amass more and more data, the amount of secondary storage grows as well. But what constitutes as secondary storage? Historically, secondary data was retained for two purposes – regulatory compliance and recovery. For modern, data-driven enterprises, however, secondary data shouldn’t be shoehorned into such limited and passive roles within the data centre, especially given that for many organisations, more than 70% of their data resides in secondary storage. That’s a huge portion of data to be left dormant and unutilised. If not properly managed, it can create unnecessary overhead for the business. Secondary data can become beneficial instead of burdensome if it’s classified and maintained with a rules engine and workflows.

In an era where data is driving digital transformation, putting this secondary data to use can have a material impact on any company’s transformation. Digital transformation requires rapid and agile application development. Secondary data can be used to accelerate the creation of test/dev environments, which in turn will speed up development outcomes.

Analytics is at the heart of data-driven business models. Often the richest source of data for informing decisions is the in-house data that your own business creates. A secondary data store is a ready source of historical company data that can be tapped to deliver insight.
Rather than store all the secondary data in slow, offline or off-site storage tiers, it’s beneficial for an organisation to keep mounted volumes of second-tier data in active use. Besides storing copies, backups and archives, in the age of big data, AI and cloud, the usefulness of secondary data could also be elevated to include shared files, unstructured content, analytics, test and development data, and much more.

When secondary data is applied in a more proactive manner, it becomes an essential ingredient of digital transformation – accelerating application development, enhancing business analytics and even accelerating your cloud strategy.
Legacy data protection and management solutions that employ an antiquated scale-up approach simply don’t offer the agility and efficiency required to manage secondary data and truly bring it to life.

One effective alternative to modernising your secondary data architecture is to use a platform that can deliver cloud-like, scale-out services on-premises. Scale-out simplifies storage management, lowers infrastructure costs, enhances operational efficiency and seamlessly integrates with storage arrays, hypervisors, applications and the full range of cloud provider solutions. Simply put, scale-out is a pre-requisite for diverse and dynamic environments.

As the secondary storage grows in importance and the line between what denotes primary and secondary data becomes less clearly defined, vendors such as Commvault are offering innovative options to replace outdated architectures and inefficient point products.

Among the innovations that the company has introduced in its Data Management Platform include a virtual repository that provides access to both “live” production as well as historical copies of data. HyperScale, meanwhile, is the perfect enabler for Commvault’s data management platform, providing a single index that allows you to search across multiple data resources simultaneously – be it structured, unstructured or cloud data – for truly centralised and efficient use of secondary data.

Enterprise IT is rapidly evolving, and amidst all the new technologies and innovations, it is easy for organisations to overlook the “hidden” value that lies within secondary data. The term “secondary” itself is misleading, implying that it has little to offer to the organisation compared to your primary or mission-critical data. But when it is utilised and managed effectively, secondary data can become your basis to accelerate innovation, provide improved security, compliance, as well as a more accurate view of your overall business.

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