Identifying Unstructured Data

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Unstructured Data is the biggest headache today for any organization trying to control and manage data. The unstructured data consumes over 70% of all information stored and is growing at 61% per annum!

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Unstructured Data

Firstly, let us understand what we are dealing with. Unstructured data is the information which is typically not stored in a database.

Unstructured Data manifests itself in two ways:

“TEXT” can be e-mail, texts, word documents, presentations, messaging systems, Twitter, Facebook etc.
“RICH MEDIA” can be images, sound files, movie files etc.
As we have explained, unstructured data consumes vast amounts of storage, but another consideration is legislation. Where this data resides is important if you need to retrieve the information for a compliance audit or lawsuit.


  • data can be of any type
  • not necessarily following any format or sequence
  • does not follow any rules
  • is not predictable

Discovery of Unstructured Data

How organizations identify this data is of vital importance to find whether it has an intrinsic value to the business or the next lawsuit waiting to happen. Unstructured data resides in many places, desktops, laptops, servers, NAS, SAN, Cloud and it is growing fast, very fast!

By 2025 IDC estimates we will be creating 463 EB (Exabytes) of data daily or 168 ZB annually, this is 4-5x the increase over 2020 estimates.

Firstly, we need to identify the types of unstructured data and where it currently resides. From this we can make plans to carry out the following:

1. How much unstructured data do we have?
2. How many copies of the same file do we have?
3. On which systems and data storage platforms does the information reside?
4. When was it created?
5. When was it last accessed?
6. What size is the file data?
7. Who owns the files?
8. When was it last modified?
9. Is the data relevant to the business?
10. How many copies do we have?
11. Do the files need to be archived?
12. Should the data be restricted?
13. Who is generating this data?
14. Is the data ours?

Existing IT Investment

Companies spend a huge amount of money in purchasing storage and servers. The investment in the solutions is growing year on year. Recent reports indicate that by 2025 we will be purchasing two to three times as much storage capacity as we are today, whether this is cloud storage or on-premise, the data management issues aren’t going away.

By implementing a tiered data archive containing unstructured data and moving this through the different storage tiers frees up valuable disk space on the most expensive highest performing storage.

By moving this data, we can slow down the necessary and ongoing investment in purchasing tier 1 storage giving a huge ROI benefit. An additional benefit with active archiving is that you may be able to utilise your existing older storage systems to archive data.

When storing unstructured data, it is an important consideration where it’s stored. Managing unstructured data will consume increasing amounts of the IT budget and available resources due to the explosion in data growth.

Data Archiving Benefits

1. Cost savings
2. Energy savings
3. ROI savings
4. Decrease Backup times
5. Free up valuable Tier 1 disk space
4. Non disruptive to users
6. Enable identification of data for business governance

Download our Infographic on Unstructured Data


For a free no obligation assessment of your unstructured data please call or email using the details below:

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