Enterprises Exploit Active Archives to Harness Big Data Growth

By Tim Bryant

April 4, 2016

There’s no denying that Big Data has been a game changer for the manufacturing and engineering industries. Organizations across the value chain continually find new ways to leverage data and analytics to optimize processes, drive operational efficiencies and provide a consolidated view of business operations.

As devices and systems become increasingly connected and intelligent, Big Data continues to compound and enterprises of all sizes embrace technologies which allow them to collect, organize and securely store their growing data volumes. According to a recent IDC study, two of the largest industries for big data spending include discrete manufacturing ($2.1 billion in 2014) and process manufacturing ($1.5 billion in 2014).

Explosive data growth has driven a need for storage solutions that can quickly scale to accommodate ever-increasing data resources, intuitively organize information for easy discovery, and offer seamless availability so insights can be served as quickly as they are needed.

Active archives are an ideal storage method for companies that regularly manage large volumes of data and require access to all of their data all the time.

An active archive provides users immediate and continuing access to archived data while storing it on a less expensive media type, leaving primary storage free for hot data which is needed on a more regular basis. They offer organizations limitless storage capabilities to house their most valuable data resources, reduce storage expenditures and TCO, and increase the availability of archived data to users across the organization.

Already a widely-used storage method for manufacturing and engineering companies, active archives can be leveraged in a variety of different ways:

  • Engineering firms can extract additional value from legacy data by retrieving design data from past projects for reuse.
  • Manufacturing data including plant/equipment maintenance records, production logs and raw material sources can be quickly accessed for responding to audits and regulatory requests.
  • Idle data can be incorporated into ongoing advanced analytics and modeling for continual use in business intelligence initiatives and data-driven decision-making.

Organizations preparing to implement an active archive should begin by evaluating data types and classifying them according to how often they will need to be accessed. Data that is too valuable to delete or must be retained for compliance purposes, but is not accessed frequently enough to occupy space in primary storage is ideal for an active archive.

Using these categorizations, a storage hierarchy can be created which designates a level of access, as well as data security and retention policies for each data type.

Once specific archiving needs have been identified, it comes time to invest in technology to power active archives. Software-defined storage platforms offer organizations the flexibility, scalability and availability for applications and workloads of all sizes. Partner with a trusted solutions provider to construct a single massive-scale storage platform appropriate for the size of the data store.

The explosion of data growth has prompted manufacturing and engineering organizations to invest in archiving solutions that will meet their storage needs both now and in the future. Those that do will ensure constant access to the valuable data that keeps their businesses running, realize cost savings from their technology investments, and extract the most value from their vast data resources.

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