What is data fabric, and why should you care?

 In Big Data, Solutions

Data is growing at an exponential rate. Given the increasing number of handheld and IoT devices, it’s getting hard to ignore. And this is only the beginning.

It’s believed that by 2020, we will have over 50-60 zettabytes (ZB) of data. This doesn’t just include documents, pictures, and videos. We’re talking about the data that companies not only need, but should be using to meet their overall business goals.

Unfortunately, just because all this data exists, that doesn’t mean organizations have the means to collect, organize, and maximize all it has to offer. Considering the time to market with products, services, and opportunities has shrunk to the point where decisions and reactions need to be instantaneous, companies need a way to tap into all that data has to offer.

So what’s the solution to this problem? Data fabric. Allow us to explain.

What is data fabric?

Simply put, a data fabric is an integration platform that connects all data together with data management services, enabling companies to access and utilize data from multiple sources. With data fabric, companies can design, collaborate, transform, and manage data regardless of where it resides or is generated. According to NetApp, by simplifying and integrating data management across on-premises and cloud environments, data fabric allows companies to speed up digital transformation.

Why do we need data fabric?

Three things come to mind: speed, agility, and data unification.

For instance, say you’re in need of a new shirt. The first thing you do is search the web for a shirt. Within seconds, pop-up ads appear on every website you access. This is an example of the data fabric analyzing, organizing, and transferring data to fit the needs of the company.

Data now comes from almost anywhere in the world, and it also comes in many different forms. For example, database data is now located all over the world like electronic libraries used for research and learning.

As a result, leaders in software and hardware technologies are working to figure out how to share data among different platforms without conversion or migration. Whether they’re dealing with on-premises, cloud, or hybrid environments, thanks to data fabric, companies are better equipped to unify, blend, integrate, transfer, and manage the siloed variety of data.

What does the future of data fabric look like?

Technology systems are becoming more complex and businesses are facing greater challenges than ever before. In addition, future technology promises to be even more complex, with IoT, mobility, digital workspace, and virtualization generating a variety of new data.

As a result, developers are being asked to build applications that gather data across diverse silo systems, including on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud, SQL, NoSQL, or HDFS repositories. Often that results in slow, ineffective, and complex solutions. Unfortunately, these solutions clash with the business challenges companies face today, many of which require applications with accelerated timelines.

Data fabric enables companies to face these challenges head on, offering greater connectors for unification, data integration, and analytical insight. We expect the demand and need for data fabric to get stronger, as companies look to stay on top of emerging technologies and services, new trends, and the continued deployment of applications to meet any and all of their business needs.

To learn more about data fabric and how it can benefit your organization, contact your SHI account executive.

Steve Kazmer contributed to this post.

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