Many businesses have no idea what to do with the sheer volume of data flooding their systems daily. The rapid growth in digitalization is contributing to a global explosion of data that is forecast to reach 59 zettabytes in 2020. Faced with this deluge, organizations are increasingly turning to business intelligence (BI) to cope. BI encompasses tools, technologies, and best practices that help organizations to analyze and interpret raw data so that they can use it to enhance the performance of their business.
In this article we will discuss the value of BI, particularly as it relates to data storage, and explain the benefits that organizations can expect from using BI in this way.
The Value of BI in General
BI offers a range of benefits across the organization:
Productivity: By centralizing data and making it accessible from anywhere, BI tools can reduce bottlenecks and make inventory control more efficient. The automation of routine tasks also streamlines operations, freeing up staff to use their time more effectively.
Decision-making: BI may be applied to large volumes of data to extract valuable insights that can inform strategic decision-making in the organization. For intelligent decision-making, you need a single, unified repository of all your data, with a dashboard that includes data from different areas to create a comprehensive view of the business and its customers.
Sales & Marketing: You can use the kind of detailed information that BI technology delivers to help boost sales and bolster marketing efforts. You can use it to identify customer trends and measure their activity to inform future sales and marketing campaigns.
Customer Satisfaction: Centralizing your customer information makes it easier to manage relationships with customers. With more accurate data, you can enhance customer engagement and support. You can also use the data to improve your targeting and identify where resources might be reallocated more effectively.
Inventory Control: For e-commerce businesses, BI helps to ensure optimal inventory control for order fulfilment. As well as identifying where stock is and how fast it is moving, BI forecasting tools can be used to prevent bottlenecks, overstocking, or understocking.
Data Compliance: The centralized nature of BI data means you have full oversight of your data, so you know it is up-to-date and accurate. This makes it easier to comply with data protection regulations regarding the storage and use of personal data.
The Metrics for Data Storage
One area where BI could be applied more comprehensively is data storage. Many companies lack the information they need to optimize their storage capacity. They may have unused capacity going to waste, or perhaps they are reaching the limits of their storage. With accurate information about their data storage, they could move it around and optimize the storage arrays that they have already.
The most useful metrics for optimizing data storage are the following:
- IOPS (IO operations per second), the number of read or write operations that can be completed per second
- Throughput, the number of megabytes per second (MB/s) that can be delivered
- Latency, the number of milliseconds required for each IO request to complete
Armed with this information, organizations can make informed decisions when evaluating the effectiveness of a new vendor or cloud provider.
How Storage Data Can be Used to Make Better Decisions for the Business
If you could get that kind of oversight of your storage, you would have a wealth of information in one place, such as what capacity is allocated to applications and whether replications are happening locally on the array or remotely on a different array. That information can be used to optimize your data storage.
As well as facilitating optimization, insights into your data storage can help you resolve issues that you may not even have known were being caused by your storage. For example, if an application is performing poorly, it may not be an issue with the application—it could be because a “noisy neighbor” (a tenant sharing your cloud storage who monopolizes resources) is compromising your IOPS.
The Challenge of Applying BI to Storage Data in a Multi-Vendor Environment
It sounds great, so why isn’t everybody extracting this kind of information from their data storage? One key reason is that getting that kind of visibility is difficult when your IT infrastructure is spread across a variety of cloud services and on-premises data centers. To extract the data that will help you make informed business decisions, you need automatic discovery and identification of the storage assets in your data center.
Overcoming That Challenge with Device42 Storage Discovery
Device42 Storage Discovery delivers comprehensive discovery details of your storage footprint across multiple platforms. You get a detailed overview of your storage environment that helps you identify and prevent bottlenecks in your applications that could be caused by your storage infrastructure.
Informed by IT policies, Device42 Storage Discovery dynamically collects performance, configuration, and capacity data from storage arrays, servers, and switches. It then maps applications from the bottom up so that you get a full overview of storage elements and can also see how storage is replicated. With business-level reporting built in, organizations have the tools they need to make informed capacity decisions that align with their business requirements.
For more information about how Device42 Storage Discovery could help you extract business intelligence from your data storage, contact us today.