Head To Head | Big Data
74 Big data: Big opportunity
or a Big problem?
The exponential growth of big data is forcing organizations to rethink how they protect and manage
file systems that have become effectively too big to back up. The IDC is predicting data growth of
44 times the scale within the next decade. IT departments are under pressure to maintain control,
flow and security of critical data, so we speak to CommVault’s Emily Wojcik to find out why this is
EM360°: Emily, can you tell me about CommVault and the role you are playing in the IT
Emily: CommVault is a software company that is 100% dedicated to meeting the data
and information management needs of the enterprise. We have a software product called
CommVault Simpana, which provides a better, more cost effective and risk adverse way for
companies to protect, manage, retain, access, and most importantly, gain business value
from their information.
CommVault focuses on areas like archiving and search for storage optimization or e-dis-
covery and compliance. This area of our business is in high growth mode because so
many companies out there are grappling with the challenges that are unique to this new
digital era. The whole idea of big data is causing some major headaches from a storage
perspective certainly, but add on new compliance regulations, government mandates and
e-discovery and all of this growth is becoming a challenge from a risk standpoint as well.
Your data can be a huge liability, but with a modern information management strategy it
can also be a huge asset.
EM360°: Big data now pretty much poses an opportunity rather than a problem for
organizations these days. Can you tell us about this explosion in big data and what
organizations are looking to do to deal with this?
Emily: Big data is creating a real opportunity to think more strategically about your data.
Research tells us that while data growth continues to climb, the budgets and the resources
to manage it are staying flat. That’s the bad news; the good news is that these new para-
digm shifts are forcing some conversations and collaboration between cross-functional
stakeholders to meet these needs in a more holistic, economical and forward-thinking way.
It’s not something the IT department can throw more storage at any more. It’s really
critical to not only understand what the operational impacts of big data are, but also how
big data impacts good information governance policies. This starts by developing a better
understanding of how different users across the organization use these applications and
business processes to manage data throughout its entire life cycle. This effort requires
cooperation among both business and IT stakeholders responsible for both the recovery
of information and its discovery.
This collective group can then examine all the policies and practices used to protect,
retain, manage access, and ultimately dispose of data as part of this process, and so a
more holistic view of the enterprise will be exposed and organizations can then strategize
accordingly. “We also see the convergence of
back-up and archive. It is an emerging
concept that’s gaining traction today as
organizations seek to reduce the
number of copies created for both
back-up and archiving…”
EM360°: Moving on what would you say
then are the important components of a
big data solution product and of those,
how are these components extenuated in
your Simpana software product?
Emily: The value for a lot of CommVault
customers is the idea of removing depart-
mental silos, or different repositories of
data, which are hard to manage and search
across. In an environment where there are
budget shortages, a way to remove these
silos is to augment processes and do more
with less by leveraging a single platform.
We also see the convergence of back-
up, archive and reporting. It is an emerging
concept that’s gaining traction today as
organizations seek to reduce the number
of copies created for both back-up and
archiving, while aligning access policies for
both more closely. The ‘problem’ with tra-
ditional archive approaches is that you do
not know what to archive. Our customers
are leveraging our integrated reporting to
determine automated policies for moving
and retaining the right data. And what that
really does is create this notion of a single
data repository that eliminates duplicate
copies of information and redundancies of
processes, while removing silos. This is a
holistic approach that captures data and
then reprocesses it both for data protec-
tion and preservation, which helps get the
right data in the hands of the right people
at the right time, so that they can turn it into
something that adds value to the business.
EM360°: Can you tell us what role big
data growth is playing in governance or
Emily: While IT departments are grappling
with how to support these really complex
environments, legal and compliance teams
are also tasked with “defending big data”
and making accommodations for it in the