It’s hard to quantify, but research analysts at IDC estimate the digital universe is now 40 zettabytes (ZB), or 40 trillion GB of data, which equals 5,200 GB of data for every person on Earth.
Those numbers will keep exploding. Certain industries, like medical or financial services, are finding new and innovative ways to create terabytes of data– whether it be medical records or high-frequency trading data that may need to be preserved for decades.
We believe that if your business is struggling to keep up with the needed infrastructure for your growing data, the answer is most likely the cloud. The short answer as to why that might be is something called scalability. For the longer answer, keep reading about the three biggest reasons why any business struggling to manage big data challenges needs to embrace, and not fear the cloud:
1. Clouds Are Flexible
The consequences of not having enough computing or storage resources are dire: First come performance issues, then users start getting error messages and then they are locked out of applications.
Unfortunately, some organizations panic and try to solve the problem by buying more and more computer hardware. That can make the problem worse: if demand drops, hardware goes underutilized and constrains a company’s capital expenditure budget.
Cloud computing offers major benefits to organizations, but perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the ability to scale to meet the exact needs of your business. Scalability is the ability to handle growing or diminishing resources to meet business demands. In other words, scalability is a planned level of capacity that can grow or shrink as needed. It means your IT environment is suddenly flexible enough to deliver exactly the right amount of computing power when you need it.
2. The Cloud Can Handle Exponential Growth
When computer scientists talk about the kind of growth seen in most corporate environments, it’s called exponential growth. That word gets used a lot and may be one of the most misused terms in vogue today. To understand why traditional IT technology cannot be expected to process high volumes of data, it’s important to understand that term.
Think about it this way – if you start with a population of 100, and grow that population by 1 percent a year, that figure will double in 100 years and after 500 years will grow to 600. However, if a population grows exponentially at 1 percent, it doubles in only 70 years, and in five hundred years will be well over 1.6 million. (Check my math here.)
When faced with an exponentially growing challenge, people often respond with linear solutions. When a law firm that is used to dealing with gigabytes of evidence in litigation starts to get cases involving a terabyte of data, their instinct is to upgrade their technology. That means giving their IT guy a budget to buy more computers.
Unfortunately, computers can be a bottleneck. You can always throw hardware at the problem, but when an application that used to create several gigabytes of data are suddenly creating terabytes of data, a few new computers is not going to address the problem.
Because cloud providers can scale to manage increasing demand, you can have an non-linear solution for your business challenges. A cloud provider like Amazon Web Services hosts trillions of objects at any one time, which means your exponential growth is just a blip to them.
3. The Cloud is Practically Indestructible
Scalability means any business to rebuild their IT in just a few hours whenever needed. The speed and flexibility of cloud environments means that if a business plans to open a new branch, add a new team or launch a new project or campaign, it can add the IT resources in minutes or days, not months. Your overworked IT staff can avoid costly, disruptive migrations. Even more importantly, there are no large upfront costs with the cloud, like buying the servers, maintaining them, networking them, depreciating them, replacing them, troubleshooting them, staffing them – and the list goes on.
The size, scale, and complexity of a cloud infrastructure makes it practically indestructible. Modern cloud service providers operate from geographically distributed data centers which are often protected by military-grade facilities with backup generators and equipment. Even if one data center were to be knocked offline, your applications and data are most likely going to be secure and available. Try replicating that level of security in a small or medium-sized business environment.
Everyone, even major tech vendors, are coming to understand that the cloud is simply more efficient and powerful than owning lots of hardware. Just like no one buys electrical generators for their infrastructure, there is no need or reason to build out a data center. Throwing money at outdated, legacy technology will simply not solve your IT headaches.
If you are interested in finding out how your organization could benefit from Cloud computing and remain on the leading edge of technology, contact the team of experts at the Gordon Flesch Company today!