News Article

The economics of copy data

January 10, 2013

Only 25 percent of all data generated is unique – everything else is copy data

The storage industry has seen it’s fair share of storage startups. Every now and then a startup comes along with a simple value proposition and yet one that is very powerful in the pain points it solves – pain points that businesses have learned to live with and pain points that have been repeatedly asserted by the storage industry as the “cost of doing business”. One such company is Actifio. Actifio’s messaging is simple – Copy data management. Simple but powerful.
Like any industry, the storage industry has many secrets that support its survival. One such secret is the need to sell more disks to support data growth. More data means more storage. More storage means more revenue. Storage efficiency may temper some of it, but ultimately data growth translates to more revenue. No one can challenge that right?
However a closer look quickly indicates that not all of this data growth is organic i.e. real data growth. A significant chunk of this data growth comes from the creation of multiple copies of data.
As companies come under increased scrutiny for being compliant, meet regulatory laws and IT departments come under increased pressure to maintain service levels, they are increasingly fueling the “human instinct” of being over-protective of their data. This leads to multiple secondaries copies of data.
Copy data is everywhere – it could start off with multiple copies of the same file, move on to multiple copies of the volume, application data, backups, test/dev, online copies for operational and disaster recovery…the list goes on.
In fact in a recent IDC study, we found that nearly 75 percent of all data generated is copy data. Which means only 25 percent of all data generated is unique – everything else is copy data. That is a staggering number and exposes the tip of the iceberg of how serious this problem.
The graph above illustrates how bad this situation may be. If the 75:25 rule is applied to the IDC forecast above, it becomes clear that bulk of the enterprise consumption growth is being fueled by copy data. Businesses may be substituting cloud for tape but are not addressing their copy data problem.
I had the priviledge of presenting this copy data problem at Actifio’s annual kickoff event. The audience featured over two hundred partners and customers of Actifio – who have successfully reigned in the copy data problem or are in the process of spreading the word to many more customers.
Actifio has a simple value proposition. It is not trying the boil the ocean with its solution. It does not handle production data and it does not try to make its solution be all things to all customers. But for businesses with runaway data protection costs, backup windows and businesses seeking to simplify their environment with a single solution for managing local and remote copies of data it does what it promises.
Unlike remote, offline and offsite copy data which is “out-of-sight and out-of-mind” till something bad happens, Actifio ensures that copy data it manages is “in-sight and in-mind” – providing a sense of security and an “always-on” meter of the economics of generating and maintaining it.
IDC and Actifio are jointly conducting primary research on validating how deep this copy data problem really is. Actifio plans to use this data to educate the market on its value proposition and gain mindshare on effectively quantifying the issue. Key questions that will be asked/addressed by this research are:
1.Size of the organisation vis-à-vis size of the storage infrastructure
2.Attributes of their storage infrastructure
3.Attributes of applications deployed on it
4.Percent of primary and secondary data
5.Locations/targets for secondary copies
6.Reasons for growth or shrinkage (if any) in secondary copies of data
7.Secondary copy data distribution by application/workloads
8.Major pain points associated with managing secondary copy data
9.Impact on budgets
I have always maintained that startups need not have a complicated value proposition to be successful. A simple proposition can be a formula for a successful venture. Ash and team are validating this approach….a second time.