In the “Rethink Data” report from Seagate and IDC, the report authors found that the biggest barrier to implementing a DataOps approach is getting people to agree on data governance.
Image: Seagate IDC report “Rethink Data”

Only 32% of data available to enterprises is put to work to drive profits and customer loyalty. Most companies have multiple data analysis tools that do the same thing. Security is an on-going headache, and using multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments make everything more complicated.

Seagate and IDC shared all these findings in the new “Rethink Data” report and suggested a solution to most of these challenges: DataOps. IDC surveyed 1,500 IT professionals with a focus on storage experts to understand the state of corporate data management.

The biggest barrier to implementing this new practice of connecting data creators with data consumers is not technology but PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair). The report authors described the problem clearly and succinctly: It’s the people who keep data in silos.

SEE: Kubernetes security guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The biggest barrier to implementing a DataOps approach is getting people to agree on data governance: Getting enterprise leaders to develop agreements around language, data classification and all the associated processes.

Seagate recommends answering these questions about data governance:

  • Who has access to what data?
  • How will we classify data?
  • Which data will we keep and where?
  • What will we do with data after it’s analyzed?
  • How can we make data available?
  • How can we interconnect data?

Data consumers–general managers, VPs, CXOs, and their teams–need to work with subject matter experts, product design engineers, and quality engineers to understand what data needs to be kept and then how to validate it.

In addition to defining the DataOps strategy, the report assesses the current state of data collection, analysis, and security.

The report found that the top five barriers to putting data to work are:

  1. Making collected data usable
  2. Managing the storage of collected data
  3. Ensuring that needed data is collected
  4. Ensuring the security of collected data
  5. Making the different silos of collected data available

Dave Mosley, the CEO of Seagate technology, said in the report that, “At zettabyte scale, there needs to be a simple, secure, and economic way to capture, store, and activate data.”

IDC predicts that by 2025 enterprises will be managing 12.6ZB of installed capacity from HDD, flash, tape, optical sources, and cloud service providers will manage 51% of this capacity.

Here are three recommendations from the report for getting a handle on this ever-growing mountain of data.

Rethink your data storage strategy

How and where data is stored can greatly affect the value that organizations can get from it, according to the report authors. These storage innovations can increase the value of corporate data:

  1. Mass capacity: To power economies of scale
  2. Higher bandwidth: To allow robust movement of data among storage, networking, and compute functions
  3. Security: To improve security at the component and device level
  4. Data movement architectures: To ensure that compression, encryption, and deduplication of data sets get done in compute

The report authors also suggest keeping an eye on storage virtualization tools that would create a single pane of glass for the data storage management software layer.

Consolidate tools and let IT manage them

The report found that most organizations have multiple tools that do the same thing, making enterprise data management a challenge. Whether the task is recovery, container orchestration, policy management, or data migration, only 30% of respondents said they had one tool for a particular job.

A solution to this problem also goes back to getting business owners to collaborate and agree on a single strategy. This means developing one data strategy to institute global standards, data architecture, data management, and the same access to the same analytical tools by all company teams.

The report authors recommend rolling back reporting functions to IT so one group can provide global tools, capabilities, and solutions that every group can leverage. Individual departments in the enterprise should get out of siloed management of their own data and allow the IT-instituted tools to do that globally. This change will allow teams to make decisions based on insights from reliable, global, accessible pools of data.

Give data owners a stake in security

The report goes back to the human element again and suggests giving data users a role in protecting it. These three changes can accomplish this:

  1. Data classification: Data protection programs need a classification plan to succeed, and data creators, owners, and users must agree on these standards
  2. Data flows: When business owners understand where data flows, it’s easier to identify the biggest areas of risk
  3. Access control: In addition to role-based access control, organizations should implement information rights management and browser-only access and watermarking


The quantitative web survey queried 1,500 respondents globally from mid-size and large businesses in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. The survey participants included CIOs, CTOs, IT vice presidents, directors, COO/LOB, storage architects, and solution architects.