[Report] Iron Mountain Reveals 46 Percent of Companies Keep All Data On-Site
According to a new European study by Iron Mountain, 46 percent of IT teams will insist on keeping data close at hand on hardware they can see, touch and control when that data is confidential, sensitive, business-critical, frequently used, subject to strict regulation, newly created or of potential business value.
The term ‘server hugger’ describes this desire to store data in the line of sight, and reflects an enduring caution about moving data off-site or into the cloud.
Iron Mountain’s series of interviews with senior IT professionals in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, reveals that although this mentality remains widespread, things are beginning to change ‒ often for very valid business reasons.
Here are highlights of the research made across Europe:
- Just over a third (37 percent) of respondents now include the cloud as part of a hybrid on-and off-site storage solution that includes tape, disc and cloud storage, a further eight per cent plan to introduce cloud in the next 12 to 24 months. Surging data volumes and growing confidence in the security and benefits of the cloud are the main drivers behind this trend, but some sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing and financial services remain cautious.
- In the Netherlands, a financial services firm with just under 100 employees says it keeps all its data on servers on site in order to better protect it. “Given the kind of business we’re in, we cannot afford any kind of data breach.”
- However, it can work the other way. A Dutch telecommunications firm with more than 1,000 employees says there is no point putting information employees need to access frequently on an “old or slow responding server; their work will be hampered and so will the business.” The firm now relies on a private cloud to store its data.
- A services firm in France with over 1,000 employees relies on a hybrid storage solution that includes the cloud, decided to back-up some of the most frequently-used information it stores in the cloud on site so that it doesn’t have to pay the high cost of data retrieval.
- A Spanish firm in the same business sector, with less than 250 employees, faces the same challenge of how to handle ever-increasing volumes of information more efficiently. “We are now having to store data at an alarming rate. While we have budget reduction initiatives, we have little control over the amount of data produced.”
- A media and broadcast firm in Germany with over 500 employees explains that its priorities for data have changed in the last few years. “Due to the growing volume of unstructured data, our focus has shifted from data protection and risk to cost-effective data storage.” The company has its own data centre and also uses tape, public clouds, internal servers and digital hard drives in a secure environment.
Christian Toon, head of information risk at Iron Mountain, said: “In a world where more and more business recognise the value of information, data storage has become a business-critical issue rather than a back-office activity.
“The IT professionals we spoke to believe that getting storage right is an art rather than an exact science. Most still feel most at ease when they can see and touch their data storage racks – often for very sensible business reasons.
“However, evolving security risks and the growing need to harness the full value of information is making on-site server storage untenable in the long term. We would advise IT teams to transition to a rich, blended platform that includes a secure off-site data centre and cloud solutions.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”