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Over the past four or five years, clustered—or scale-out—storage has grown increasingly and consistently more essential to meeting and mitigating the unrelenting challenges of data growth. As the amount of daily personal and business data usage has grown to near-tsunami levels, utilization of clustered storage has expanded from use in primarily technical applications such as engineering and CAD/CAM simulation to use for such common business applications as Oracle databases, SAP business management software, and Microsoft Exchange.


Over the past 12 months, industry analysts have even begun ranking vendors who supply clustering or scale-out storage. And yet clustered storage is still not a ubiquitous part of the data growth conversation. It is hard to generate a lot of heat without a lot of hotly contested debate. And there is little debate that scale-out storage is an ever-more-critical, even integral, component for organizations that rely on data to drive business results.


As year-over-year data growth becomes truly unprecedented, the proliferation of bigger datasets is causing IT departments to struggle to keep up—much less proactively innovate to better meet the organization’s needs.  Datasets are not simply growing—they are growing rapidly and consuming storage voraciously. Against a backdrop of such torrential data downpours, simply adding new storage or even upgrading existing storage can have a dramatic impact on a company’s business.

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Systems taken down or offline even for a few hours can bury employees in everything from e-mail to sales figures. Half a day without access to critical information can easily cause an organization to miss weekly or even quarterly business goals. And with more organizations operating globally, there are few, if any, true off-hours anymore.


As the data-deluge juggernaut rolls on, many organizations will soon discover that clustered storage can mean the difference between controlling data and being controlled by it. Clustering continues to offer organizations a highly efficient and effective way to manage the new—and intensifying—realities of this data-deluge era.

 

Mike McNamara

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