By Alex Lei
Special to The Nation
Over the past year, we saw four industry mega-trends across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) that are likely to lead organisations in the region to redesign how they manage and protect their data in 2020 and beyond:
Data value: Data is not merely supportive of the business anymore; increasingly data is the business. The increasing value of data is driving organisations to retain more information so that they can explore new opportunities to increase customer loyalty, bring new services to market, and compete more effectively.
Multi-cloud approach: Over the past year, enterprises have increasingly turned to the cloud. “In a recent Gartner survey of public cloud users, 81 per cent of respondents said they are working with two or more providers.”* Enterprises are using on-premise data services while leveraging cloud services, without being locked into a single cloud provider.
Cloud native applications, consisting of containers and functions, introduce new characteristics to workloads and data. They enable greater portability as applications can move seamlessly from cloud-to-cloud as well as between on-premise data centers and multiple public clouds. Given the fluidity and highly transient nature of cloud-native applications, organisations increasingly need the flexibility to perform data protection operations anywhere cloud native apps reside. Likewise, it is also important to have the ability to protect cloud native entities in one location with the option to recover the data from somewhere else – so they are not tied to where they are running.
Distributed data: Data is increasingly being created out across edge locations as well as moving between core data center and multi-cloud environments. For enterprises, ensuring the protection and recoverability of all this information will become increasingly challenging.
Application transformation: Organisations are moving increasingly towards Agile application deployment methodologies to speed up time-to-market and acceleration innovation that is driving the adoption of cloud-native applications based on Kubernetes containers and functions. As organisations move to cloud-native applications, they need to continue protecting traditional workloads like Exchange, SQL, Oracle, SAP Hana and file system data in addition to managing next generation workloads like SaaS applications and cloud-native applications deployed in containers, as well as functions and low-code apps. As application architectures change, so does the data – in form, construct, and volume. This transition needs to be considered as a part of the design and when we gain a new application, we might lose control of some of the data in the process.
The exponential data growth combined with increasing data value is creating opportunities but also new risks as organisations grapple with how to reliably and sustainably protect their information. According to Dell Technologies’ Global Data Protection Index, Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) organisations managed on average 8.13 petabytes of data in 2018 alone. Dell Technologies’ research found on average that for organisations that lost data, an average of 2.04TB was lost, with a price tag of nearly US$1 million (Bt32 million). As the value of an enterprise’s data increases, the cost of data lost increases substantially. Companies also face increased security threats and cyber-attacks. In APJ, many organisations lack the deep expertise and ability to fully leverage their “security” technologies to protect their data from sophisticated hackers. Recent ransomware cases especially in the financial services industry, utilities and critical infrastructure, as well as the public sector especially local governments are testimony to the urgent need for organisations to create robust processes to manage and safeguard data. Without a well-thought-out data protection strategy, the chances of creating value are greatly diminished.
With data increasingly being distributed across the edge, the core and the cloud, “Where is my data and is it protected?” is becoming an increasingly vital question.
The way forward for businesses
In 2020 and the years beyond, organisations will need to leverage both, proven data protection solutions that deliver the foundational data protection required to protect traditional workloads as well as with modern data protection technology that offer a range of capabilities to customers in APJ:
Cloud native protection -- that includes the ability to protect cloud-native workloads like Mongo DB, Hadoop and Cloudera as well as SaaS applications like O365. It also includes the ability to protect applications deployed on Kubernetes containers or distributed as functions in the cloud.
Autonomous protection -- that auto-detects and auto-protects application workloads regardless of the platform they are deployed on as well as protection services that have the ability to follow workloads wherever they operate across edge-to-core-to cloud infrastructure.
Business service recovery -- the ability to automatically orchestrate the recovery of an entire business service by recovering all of the disparate hardware and software elements that make up a business service as they are deployed on-premise, in the cloud or both.
Data services -- the ability to ensure protection, security, efficiency and compliance of workloads wherever they live across multi-cloud environments. Moreover, capabilities to deliver more business value by enabling on-demand access to secondary copies of data to accelerate innovation and drive deeper business insight.
In the new data decade, organisations that leverage comprehensive data management and protection capabilities across their multi-platform and multi-cloud environments, will be prepared to effectively mitigate emerging risks, accelerate innovation, lower costs, and optimise business outcomes. Ultimately, with the right people and the right data management solutions, an enterprise can move beyond traditional data protection, and unlock the value of its data.
(Alex Lei is vice president, Data Protection Solutions, Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell Technologies)