Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Benefits of Object Storage in the Work-from-Anywhere Era

IT professionals are under immense pressure to keep data organized and accessible while working from home. With the proliferation of cloud services and remote work, data is constantly in flux, making it difficult to manage. Object storage can help IT operate more effectively and provide better services by keeping data organized and accessible.

The growth of unstructured data and the cloud

The vast majority of data is unstructured – in fact, IDC estimates that by 2025, 80% of all data will be unstructured. Unstructured data is harder to manage with traditional methods and on top of that, the growth of cloud services is making it harder to keep track of where data is stored and how it is accessed.

Any industry that relies on data storage and access is affected by this problem, including, but not limited to, healthcare, finance and government.

How object storage fits into work-from-home

While some companies have made the move back to the physical office in the past year or so, others have embraced the WFH lifestyle permanently. According to projections from the career experts at Ladders, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022.

Accommodating for remote work requires a different approach because there’s no longer the same kind of perimeter there once was in terms of data access. So, some organizations turn to VPNs or other methodologies for enabling secure access for employees outside the physical office, some of which can be cumbersome to use.

Object storage allows secure access to data without having to go through a VPN or granting other kinds of privileged access to remote workers. The nature of object storage serves the purpose of thousands of workers accessing shared storage through various remote connections and devices at the same time. This is what object storage was designed to solve for hyperscalers like AWS.

All of this helps enable instant collaboration with co-workers and access from any device – including phones, tablets and computers – as well as the graceful handling of remote connections issues like low bandwidth or disconnection.

Advantages of object storage

If the way that storage is handled for remote workers doesn’t change, IT professionals will continue to struggle with managing data for them. This will lead to reduced productivity and decreased satisfaction with IT services. In addition, companies will be at a competitive disadvantage if they are unable to access and organize their data in an efficient manner.

Addressing this problem will fulfill the goals of making data more accessible and easier to manage. The objectives are to reduce the amount of time it takes to find and retrieve data, to improve the organization of data, and to make it easier to share data between different departments and users.

Regarding the last point, object storage gives users the chance to consolidate a wider variety of workloads onto fewer platforms, which enables better data sharing. This is a great benefit to analytics teams, who need the data sharing capabilities that object storage offers so they can run complex analysis workloads. Object storage also offers the performance these teams need.

There are more advantages to object storage:

  • Because object storage is software-defined, it’s easier to expand and upgrade. With hardware-defined solutions, lack of flexibility makes it harder or even impossible to incorporate new technologies.
  • Server-based storage uses replicas for back-up, which can get expensive. Object storage uses erasure coding, which lowers storage and back-up costs significantly. When compute and storage resources are separated, you can scale each one on an as-needed basis – there’s no need to over-spend as you grow.
  • When a disk fails, performance doesn’t suffer because data is distributed broadly. Object storage creates greater redundancy and availability.
  • For projects with high-storage needs, like video, IT teams can quickly spin up additional storage. This scalability can create new opportunities that traditional storage types couldn’t.

Using object storage for maximum advantage

Implementing an object storage solution will help keep data organized and accessible. To get the most out of and ensure success with object storage, make sure to train staff on how to use the object storage solution to ensure they can use the solution effectively. Then, migrate data to the solution as soon as possible. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to find and retrieve data in your organization.

Integrate the object storage solution with other applications to improve the organization of your data. Finally, share data between different departments and users to remove siloes and ensure that everyone has access to the data they need to make important business decisions.

Reaping the rewards

The adoption of these best practices for object storage will lead to measurable business benefits, including increased security, productivity, improved satisfaction with IT services – which leads to less shadow IT – and a competitive advantage over companies that are unable to efficiently manage their data.

Today’s cloud-driven organizations, especially those with remote work policies, need stronger security and every productivity gain they can get. Lowered storage costs don’t hurt, either. As organizations look for ways to upgrade their storage to serve current and future needs, object storage should be top of their list for consideration.