By Neil Thurston, Chief Technologist, Logicalis UK&I
As data becomes an increasingly valuable asset, organisations have to adapt, to manage and protect their data to ensure it delivers maximum value to the business.
It is a broad undertaking, covering everything from optimising data storage costs and safeguarding against cyber threats and regulatory breaches, to maximising ability across the organisation to derive actionable insights from the data it holds.
It is made more challenging by the complexity of today’s data estates, with data often held across multiple silos, clouds, on-premise platforms and technologies.
This article explores how multi cloud data fabric addresses this complexity challenge and provides the toolset needed for organisations to maximise value from their data.
What is data fabric?
IBM define data fabric as “an architecture that facilitates the end-to-end integration of various data pipelines and cloud environments through the use of intelligent and automated systems.”
Data fabric enables data to be managed as a single, integrated estate across multiple clouds, technologies and locations.
For organisations looking to optimise data management and maximise data value, data fabric offers a single, platform agnostic management layer that simplifies and adds powerful capabilities to the data management process.
How data fabric delivers value at all levels of data management
Deploying a market leading data fabric product set such as that offered by IBM breaks down data silos in an organisation, opening up all its data assets so that everyone with a legitimate business need has simple, straightforward access to the data and powerful analytics they need to add value.
This is often seen as the primary benefit of data fabric, yet there are many other ways in which data fabric technology can add value at all levels, from operational to strategic.
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) <link to Logicalis UK ILM blog> , the set of formal disciplines involved in managing information throughout its lifecycle, from discovery or acquisition to disposal, can be applied and automated as a single layer across the entire data estate. The organisation knows the location and status of all its data at any moment, an essential requirement for meeting growing regulatory burdens and protecting against data breaches.
Together, data fabric and ILM enable organisations to manage their data dynamically to maximise efficiency and optimise costs. With tiered storage technology, data can be moved dynamically between more and less costly levels of storage depending on value and usage. This can dramatically reduce storage costs, but it can only deliver full value in a data fabric environment with strong ILM.
Data fabric and data mesh
Data mesh is an emerging alternative model for managing and exploiting data. Centralised control is devolved to domain teams who have greater expertise and knowledge of the data for that specific domain.
While data mesh is sometimes held up as a rival to data fabric, they can perhaps more usefully be seen as alternative organisational and functional models for managing and exploiting data, with both being the same fundamental principle of managing data as a single estate across multiple sites and platforms.
Logicalis UK&I have helped many clients deliver success in managing and maximising value from data.