Guest Column | June 3, 2014

The Future Of Storage: Giving Data A Voice

Big Data

By Joe Paquet, vice president of vendor alliance and relations for Axis Business Solutions

The storage industry is evolving — moving from providing a place where data resides to enabling organizations to leverage insights from data to make better business decisions. Joe Paquet of Axis Business Solutions, a DataGravity partner, explains where the industry is now, and where it’s going

Q: What do you see as the future of the storage industry?

Paquet: Storage is currently a place where data resides, but it has the potential to be much more. As organizations store more data — structured and unstructured — companies need new functionality to manage it. Smarter storage solutions will extract intelligence from data and take storage to the next level. These solutions will no longer just store data; they will give data a voice. Organizations will be able to leverage the insights from their stored data to make more informed business decisions. For example, companies will now be able to answer questions related to compliance, governance, customers, employees, operations, and more. Questions can include: “Are there any social security numbers stored in our system that should not be there?” or “Who has accessed this file relating to the impending acquisition?”

Q: What functionalities are your customers looking for in a storage solution?

Paquet: Our customers face various challenges related to collecting and sharing data across their organizations. The problem is that many solutions available to address these needs operate in silos, splitting storage, analytics, and data governance into separate applications. On top of that, they are often complicated and require a data scientist to correctly use them and extract insight, and a data scientist is a luxury that many of our customers cannot afford. Our customers want to make better use of their stored data, and they therefore need a storage solution that is easy to use and will transform storage into a strategic tool for gaining business value from data. Customers want to fuse storage and intelligence, and extract information from both their structured and unstructured data.

Q: Are your customers talking about unstructured data? How would you define it? What challenges does it present to your customers?

Paquet: Unstructured data can be defined as human-generated data, such as Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, social media, and other content that does not fit neatly into tables. I often find myself discussing unstructured data with customers. As of now, customers are struggling to manage and make sense of unstructured data. Without the proper tools to extract insights from this type of data, it is difficult for them to grasp the value it holds.

Q: How familiar are your customers with the insight that unstructured data could provide?

Paquet: As the amount of unstructured data that organizations create continues to grow, our customers are starting to think more about the promise that it could deliver, with the right functionality and capabilities. They understand that applying analytics to this data can provide insights into their business, customers, employees and more, but they have struggled to actually do so.  

Q: What is the target market of your ideal customer? Is there a market that stands to benefit the most?

Paquet: Smart storage solutions will provide insight into the data that organizations are storing. Large enterprises have had the funds to invest in solutions and data science teams that can provide these insights, so mid-market companies stand to benefit the most from these new solutions that bring together storage and intelligence and can provide organizations with a complete solution for their needs at a price they can afford. That being said, extracting intelligence from unstructured data has proven to be a challenge across organizations, so all-sized businesses stand to benefit from a more encompassing, smarter storage solution.

Q: Why did you choose the DataGravity early-access channel program?

Paquet: As a DataGravity early-access channel program partner, we can offer our customers a first look into new technology that will help them stay at the forefront of their industries. As a trusted partner to our customers, we strive to look for the most innovative technologies, and that is what we’ve discovered through our partnership with DataGravity.

Joe Paquet is vice president of vendor alliance and relations for Axis Business Solutions, an expert in virtualization, storage, continuity and cloud technologies, as well as a DataGravity early-access channel program partner. Paquet has 20 years of sales and management experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to Axis, he was a key principal in building a service division for a New England-based VAR.