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Storing More Data Over Networks: COVID-19 Accelerates a Key Trend

by Data Expedition, Inc. |  Articles Apr 16, 2021

Melanie Posey, a research director at 451 Research, provides her insight on how shifting data storage targets are creating a growing need to move data efficiently.


I'm Melanie Posey, research director at 451 Research, a part of S&P Market Intelligence, and I cover cloud hosting and managed services.

How is the volume of data moving to the cloud changing?

Cloud storage is a mainstream thing in enterprise organizations today, with about two-thirds of organizations making use of cloud storage.  While it's hard to get a read on the exact volume of data moving in and out of the cloud every day, there are a few things we do know.  One of the things is that data migration is constant.  Data is always in motion, and about 30% of organizations do continuous streaming of data, which means the data is moving back and forth all the time.  Then, another 25% of organizations move data in and out of the cloud on a daily basis.  A couple of other things we know is that data volumes overall are growing at an average rate of about 30% a year.  And an even more interesting fact is that data used for the purposes of analytics and data processing is growing at an even faster rate, at over 40% per year.

Another big thing to remember about all this data movement is that it has to have a way to move from one place to the other.  Right now, network transport is the most common medium for data migration.  There are a couple of other ways that organizations are going about data migration, such as physical devices that move the data from one place to the other, like AWS's Snowball device.  But, right now, good old network transport is the way data moves and the way it gets done.

What challenges does this growth create in moving data to the cloud?

It's become a bit of a cliche at this point, but it's nevertheless true, that data is the coin of the realm in the digital economy.  Problem here is that data doesn't just live in one place, and the business processes that are fueled by the data don't just live in one place either.  You've got centralized locations, like enterprise data centers and co-location facilities, as well as places like the public clouds, and also edge locations like factory floors and retail establishments, where business operations that depend on data take place.

How has COVID-19 contributed to changes and introduced additional challenges?

Business data usage and storage patterns have been changing for quite some time now.  Businesses are distributed, yet interconnected, and they've become even more distributed and more interdependent as a result of the COVID-19 situation.  So, here's how it goes.  You're working at home, but your data doesn't live in your house with you.  Remote working has created an even more distributed business workflow, which means more data that has to travel across even more networks.

As a result of COVID, our Voice of the Enterprise surveys have found that about a third of organizations report increased consumption of storage, and they're moving more and more data across networks, and the data it needs to move fast.  Remote employees can't begin working until the data that the workloads depend on get there.  In a distributed digital economy, "there" can be anywhere.  Making the data transport more efficient and more reliable is something that's absolutely vital to keeping the digital supply chains running, and keeping digital operations going.