The Evolving Role of Data Management in the Post-Pandemic Enterprise Environment

The Evolving Role of Data Management in the Post-Pandemic Enterprise Environment

“Data growth is at an all-time high. As we enter the zettabyte age, customers must efficiently and cost-effectively store enormous amounts of data from endpoint to clouds,” says Siva Sivaram, President – Technology and Strategy at Western Digital in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.


ET Bureau: What are your thoughts on the storage technology that large corporations have adopted in the aftermath of the pandemic?

Siva Sivaram: To cope with the pandemic, small and large corporations have been forced to enable a big portion of their workforce to work from home. This change has significant impact on the storage architecture. Storage must be sharable, accessible remotely with minimal latency and has to grow immediately, without time to plan for expansions. For this reason, many companies are turning to cloud storage vendors as their offerings are meeting these requirements and are immediately available.

At the same time, online collaboration tools generate a lot of data traffic that has challenged the networks and is generating additional data; think about how many video calls we record and make available for review through cloud services like Box and Teams. In many cases, the user experience has been quite positive, to the point that it is not practical to decommission these cloud services and move to a pure on-premises model.

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ET Bureau: What steps is Western Digital taking to address the changing infrastructure and data management needs?

Siva Sivaram: Western Digital is uniquely positioned today to reinvent the architecture of storage, as it’s the only company in the world that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets both HDDs and flash. Western Digital continues to make investments and innovates in key areas (technologies, material/mechanical science, etc.) to deliver efficient, purpose-built storage for a variety of segments and customer needs. The company invests billions of dollars to store the world’s data today and well into the future. An example of this is the recent announcement of our OptiNAND™ technology, which enables customers to keep pace with the ever-growing need for reliable, high-performance, and cost-effective capacity.

ET Bureau: Western Digital (WDC) recently announced the launch of OptiNAND. How can it assist customers in dealing with the exponential growth of data in the near future? How is it breaking the barriers of traditional storage?

Siva Sivaram: Data growth is at an all-time high. As we enter the zettabyte age, customers must efficiently and cost-effectively store enormous amounts of data from endpoint to cloud. We estimate that nearly 2/3 of the world’s installed storage capacity is on HDDs. And most stored data will continue to be on HDDs as there’s simply no substitute that can deliver the capacity, performance, and value at scale. HDDs will continue to be the backbone of storage infrastructure for decades to come. With this new flash-enhanced drive architecture with OptiNAND™ technology, we have reimagined the future of storage in a way that is unique to Western Digital and fulfills our customer’s ever-growing need for capacity, reliability, and performance.

ET Bureau: What are the key issues that businesses face nowadays in terms of data management? Is SDS a viable solution to these problems?

Siva Sivaram: Some of the challenges that CIOs are facing today include managing data growth to support business, ensuring data protection, compliance issues, optimal database performance and improving TCO. To overcome these, CIOs will have to work closely with other stakeholders like CMOs and CHROs to adopt digital transformation projects across verticals for the true digital transformation of the company.

With many industries accelerating their digital journeys, software-defined storage (SDS) solutions are being adopted across industries. The SDS market was valued at USD 9.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 37.24 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 25.8% over the forecast period 2021 – 2026.

By decoupling software from hardware, SDS gives more flexibility to enterprises by removing the vendor lock-in. In many cases, SDS allows IT leaders to leverage general purpose hardware and scale the underlying hardware resources as needed. SDS offers incredible flexibility of choice and benefits for IT managers, including reduced CapEx, scalability, true centralized intelligence and often the ability to implement a hybrid storage strategy by seamlessly connecting on-premises resources to the cloud.

ET Bureau: When it comes to modern data centers, what role does SDS play? In what ways does it support IT modernization?

Siva Sivaram: The ever-increasing flow of data in enterprises has established the need for dynamic storage solutions that can help enterprises meet their next-generation storage needs within the confines of current infrastructure capabilities. SDS is an emerging solution that allows decoupling storage and the software by moving the command-and-control element of storage away from the hardware and into a software-based service management interface. It further helps to upgrade the IT infrastructure for better performance at a reduced cost, offering flexibility and scalability to enterprises.

In the data center environment, where the workload is highly dynamic, SDS adoption allows greater agility, reduced costs, and greater operational efficiency. The adoption of SDS can simplify the adoption of newer technologies like AI and data analytics for IT modernization without disturbing the existing IT Infrastructure.

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ET Bureau: Larger businesses also have a lot of data to keep track of. They are now migrating to the cloud. So, in what ways is WDC contributing to that?

Siva Sivaram: Western Digital’s enterprise product portfolio provides the storage foundation and flexibility to help achieve the best possible TCO for hyperscalers and cloud service providers. As cloud-based workloads like content delivery networks (CDNs), artificial intelligence, and/or machine learning continue to place greater demands on storage data centers depend on higher capacity HDDs to create new business models and improve existing services

Dr. Siva Sivaram has over 30 years of experience in semiconductors, 3D memory architectures, process technology, equipment and materials. He has held executive positions at Intel and Matrix Semiconductor, and at SanDisk after its acquisition of Matrix. Additionally, he was the Founder and CEO of Twin Creeks Technologies, a solar panel and equipment company.

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Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.