At last year’s Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida, there was one a major takeaway: data gravity. It was interesting to see the different viewpoints and perspectives, so let’s take a look back at how the enterprise can use data gravity when moving their business to the cloud. We look forward to hearing some of the big trends and strategies here in Orlando this year. If you’re at the Symposium as well, come say hi to us at booth #513.
The concept of data gravity is fairly simple, but let’s look at it in further detail, Dave McCrory originally proposed the idea a few years back and states:
Consider data as if it were a planet or other object with sufficient mass. As data accumulates (builds mass) there is a greater likelihood that additional services and applications will be attracted to this data. This is the same effect gravity has on objects around a planet. As the mass or density increases, so does the strength of gravitational pull. As things get closer to the mass, they accelerate toward the mass at an increasingly faster velocity.
Simply put, as organizations adopt and migrate infrastructure to the cloud, data that remains outside of the cloud starts to gravitate to those applications running in the cloud. As data is pulled closer to that infrastructure, it can reduce latency, increase efficiencies and speed, as well as increase application performance, all of which can positively impact the end user’s experience. The idea of being able to transform one’s operations through the use and placement of data is a revolutionary one. And while some processes and workloads physically are restricted to the cloud, with the likes of AWS, Google, Microsoft and others continuing to refine what it means to physically store data, it’s making more sense for enterprises to increasingly move more workloads and applications to the cloud. (Note: for a perfect example of the impact moving apps to the cloud can have on an organization, take a look at what we did for McDonald’s.)
If you are asking yourself, what should I consider when moving my data outside of my data center walls? Here are some best practices to keep top of mind:
- Workload purpose – Is it a workload or application that needs to be in the cloud? Cloud brings agility, flexibility and cost efficiency but not all applications need to be moved. Decide which apps will benefit most from the agility of the cloud and prioritize as needed.
- Security considerations – Do you need to have complete control over your data? What security protocols are you willing to give up, or hand over? This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t move to the cloud, there are certain managed service providers who can guide you through this process or ensure you maintain control over your data; however, it’s a key question to ask and process to analyze when deciding what to move.
- Compliance – Are you legally bound to keep some infrastructure in-house? Government agencies in particular have strict regulations on what should and shouldn’t be moved outside of physical data centers. Be sure you are clear on the regulations as you approach moving data outside of your physical infrastructure.
Data gravity is a key trend we’ve seen being particularly explosive this year, and we expect that to continue in 2017. We’ll be revisiting the topic in more detail in the coming months so stay tuned for further best practices around what moving outside of your data center walls really means.