Data location is increasingly important as it has consequences related to governance, application performance, and latency.
One of the leading rules of business for retail and real-estate businesses is “location, location, location.” Apparently, this has become the rule for data as well – especially as extremely low latency has become vital to real-time requirements, as well as governments instituting data residency rules.
The availability of data locally is recognized by leading cloud providers, who offer localized solutions that even replicate their services within onsite data centers, such as Amazon Web Services’ Outposts offering, which enables enterprises to run AWS Services on premises, essentially extending AWS compute, networking, security, and other services to local corporate data centers.
In the process, this may be reversing the process that had been underway in recent years toward consolidation and reduction of data centers, as companies moved to cloud. The need to leverage data gravity is resulting in another boomlet in data center growth – perhaps more among cloud providers as opposed to enterprises – as shown in a survey of 7,295 executives published by Digital Realty.
Data is localizing, the survey’s authors state, with more than a third indicating they now maintain at least 21 data locations, with this group growing to 97% of companies with revenues of $1 billion or more. This number, which is growing all the time, alongside an increasing number of users and devices, is contributing to this data center boomlet. “This phenomenon results in barriers that impede the efficient exchange of data and must be addressed in businesses’ data strategies to drive successful outcomes,” the survey’s authors caution.
Data management is a top concern, with 65% of executives agreeing they need to improve the data capabilities of their teams to remain competitive and extract value from data. This was higher than those who cited AI investment (59%). Moreover, 61% of respondents from companies with revenue exceeding $1 billion cited educating executives on the implications of siloed data as a priority.
The survey confirms that strategy and value outcomes for enterprises rely on data-driven insights. Executives cite data-driven insights as being essential for improving the customer experience (50%), locating data infrastructure (37%), developing new digital products (35%), and driving business growth (28%).
Data systems, infrastructure and analytics tools identified as key areas requiring investment, an area 53% of respondents say is lacking within their enterprises. Similarly, 50% cited a lack of sufficient investment in relevant analytics tools.
Data creation is multiplying at all points of business presence, contributing to a need to efficiently aggregate information. 47% of executives say they are keeping data decentralized, while 52% are keeping it centralized – highlighting how strategies differ across industries on how to organize and manage data. This can have a direct impact on a company’s ability to drive value and outcomes with data, confirming the need to prioritize aggregation.