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Data Expert Rohit Gupta Talks Storage Strategy and Tech Trends

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It’s a Jungle Out There

In the early days of the internet, raw data was essentially seen as service byproduct of the service. Browsing habits and bits of user data passed by largely unnoticed.

Even sites and companies that diligently collected and organized user data didn’t really know what it could be used for.

Fast-forward to today, when data is finally being recognized for its incredible potential. Companies are scrambling to find ways to harvest value from their data.

Even so, there still doesn’t seem to be a general consensus of how user data should be collected and utilized.

Thankfully, there are many data experts who have risen to the top, leading the charge to unlock the secret benefits of data.

Navigating Toward Progress

Rohit Gupta has worked in the area of data storage for more than ten years. He’s someone who can wrangle both large-scale goals while still managing their finer details.

His work focuses on the infrastructure and strategy that need to be in place for companies to effectively utilize their data while also keeping it safe from potential attacks.

In the contemporary tech landscape of widespread confusion or outright befuddlement when it comes to data, Gupta is a figure of expertise and constancy, educating tech leaders on how data can be turned into revenue.

We had the chance to interview Gupta and we used the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the role of data storage today, and how it will affect the near future of the technology industry.

To what extent do you think companies today are effectively monetizing user data?

Actually, companies across different industries have realized the strategic value of data. On the scale of effective utilization, companies are at different stages at implementing their data strategy.

Some of them were early adopters and are therefore they’re leading the way and reaping the economic benefits. The companies at the forefront have well-defined data and infrastructure strategies, from developing hardware and software for data infrastructure to generating actionable intelligence and monetization plans from the stored data.

These companies are also spending significant amounts of human resources and capital to developing next-generation technologies to identify the hidden patterns in stored data.

Would it ever be wise for a major tech company to refrain from collecting data or is it always beneficial?

Companies should invest and plan to collect different kinds of data sets that align with overall company strategies. Companies have to decide what data to collect, how much, where to store it, and strategies to use it. Companies have to plan short-term to long-term infrastructure layouts to support their key strategic areas.

They also need to identify what kind of computing, network, and storage infrastructure they need. Once companies cross that stage, the next step is to figure out data storage and transportation frameworks to run the desired software analytics and generate actionable intelligence and monetization plans.

These are not short-term decisions but capital expenditures and strategic areas for expansion.

Do you expect to see a form of data storage in the next few years that surpasses cloud storage in efficiency and practicality?

Today, there are two ends of the storage world- Public Cloud and On-premise Infrastructure.

Public cloud is designed for lower costs and higher efficiency, agility, and utilization. On-premise infrastructure is made to allow for better performance, data services, and solutions for handling security and privacy.

Outside of these two extremes of the spectrum, there are applications which need some features from both infrastructures. These are new local clouds, which can process and generate the required intelligence at a local level. The data does not need to travel to a central location to make use of it.

Going forward, local clouds are likely to show up on the market. Security video surveillance is one such example where city surveillance data does not need to reach a central cloud before getting any insights.

Can you explain why SSD (solid-state drive) storage is superior to previous drive formats?

Solid-state drives, SSDs, have no moving parts, they have flash controllers connected to NAND flash packages through different dedicated channels.

SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shocks, run silently, consume lower power, and offer capacities higher than that of hard disk drives. These semiconductor drives offer higher IO/s, bandwidth, and better QoS than their counter magnetic drives.

The price gap between HDDs and SSDs is still significant. SSDs are good for performance-sensitive applications and HDDs are suitable for cold or low-performance data storage.

The superior performance benefits of SSDs enable higher hardware utilization, improve overall infrastructure efficiency, increase system agility, and support higher VM density.

What do you see as one of the biggest challenges in data storage today?

I guess we should call them opportunities rather than challenges. There are more opportunities in the areas of new system architectures and hybrid cloud execution. The data is growing rapidly and hence new enterprise workloads are increasing in number and complexity.

This means that enterprises need new system architectures for performance and low-cost tiers, leveraging hybrid cloud choices. Enterprises are constantly wondering how to get the best of both worlds.

So if you were asked to update a company’s outdated storage system, what are the first steps you would take to modernize that company’s data storage methods?

Businesses love predictability. The more they know the better they function in the uncertain global environment. Data helps companies peel the onion and generate business insights.

Therefore, my first step is to ask about overall data strategy. What’s the big picture? What does this company want to achieve with data?

Once the data strategy is set, the data infrastructure and the resource strategy follow.

I then optimize computing and storage architectures for performance and cost tiers using hybrid clouds, which use the right mix of on-premise servers and storage systems and public cloud infrastructures.

This architecture ultimately allows the company to use data to meet company objectives.

What’s one valuable lesson that you’ve learned since entering a career in data storage?

From my decade of experience in the area of data storage, if I were to pick one valuable lesson that I’ve learned, I think it would be value creation.

What do I bring to the table and add to conversations with stakeholders? How do you mix hard and soft skills to lead and negotiate for business success?

In every role, from engineering silicon to creating data infrastructure for businesses, I’ve always focused on ways to foster collaboration and help my customers both inside and outside.

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