NetApp®, a global, cloud-led, data-centric software company, today released the 2023 Data Complexity Report, a global report that explores companies’ growing needs for unified data storage. The report found that 98% of organisations are in the middle of their cloud journey, with three out of four reporting workloads stored on-premises, highlighting the need for a unified approach to hybrid multi-cloud architectures and continued innovation in both on-premises all-flash storage and public cloud storage to enable AI adoption at scale.
“Findings from the data complexity report underscore the need for unified storage solutions in the age of rapid digital transformation. Security threats, sustainability goals, and adoption of deep technologies like AI make IT more complex than ever. Holistic solutions that address these challenges and enable new technologies to thrive across hybrid IT environments, is the need of the hour,” said Puneet Gupta, Managing Director & Vice President, NetApp India & SAARC.
Cloud Adoption: Organisations are in the Middle of Their Journey
Migration to the cloud hasn’t been a linear journey for many businesses, according to the report. Of all tech executives with plans to migrate workloads to the cloud, three out of four still have most of their workloads stored on-premises. However, AI adoption is the biggest driver for cloud migration, and cloud is a major enabler for AI adoption. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they’re using public cloud services for AI and analytics. Tech executives globally (39%) say their top need for Flash innovation is to optimise AI performance, cost and efficiency.
AI is Driving Further Need for Cloud Adoption
The enterprise continues to embrace AI, with 72 percent of respondents already using generative AI and 74 percent leveraging public cloud AI and analytics services. However, AI deployment comes with its own set of complex challenges. According to the study, data security (57 percent), data integration (50 percent), and talent scarcity (45 percent) persist as barriers.
Meanwhile, IT leaders continue to make a case for more funding, as nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of AI budgets come from new funding rather than reallocated budgets, and 65 percent of C-suite and IT leaders expect to engage new vendors as AI’s influence within their infrastructure expands.
Data Security Concerns Cause Further Complexity
Security threats continue to loom large among C-level executives and IT decision makers in the era of AI. According to the report, 87 percent of C-suite and board members cited ransomware as a high or top priority, while more than half of C-suite and board-level executives (55 percent) stated ransomware attack mitigation as the top priority in their company. Forty percent of respondents ranked security threats and data privacy among the top causes of complexity in their storage infrastructure.
Further, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents also predicted that it would take days or weeks for their company to recover from cyberattacks, representing a potentially devastating risk to their business.
“Today ransomware is one of the biggest threats to data security with attacks and attackers becoming more sophisticated. While service providers leverage emerging technologies to thwart attacks, attackers use it to launch attacks that are harder to detect,” said Gupta. “Unified storage solutions like Flash, topped with features like ransomware recovery guarantee, could help instill more confidence among IT stakeholders.”
Sustainability is a Top Concern in Technology Innovation
Reducing environmental impact is no longer a nice-to-have – it is now informing key technology decisions in the enterprise. According to the study, 83 percent of respondents cited sustainability as an important deciding factor when choosing storage vendors. Further, more than half (50 percent) recognise that reducing energy and carbon footprint is central to responsible AI, while 84 percent agree that reducing their company’s carbon footprint is an important part of sustainability initiatives.
These Challenges are Uniquely Addressed by Cloud-Enabled Flash Storage
Looking to the future of Flash storage, the impact of AI on both buying decisions and expectations for innovation is undeniable. According to the study, 39 percent of respondents want Flash storage solutions that optimise AI performance.
Security and data privacy are also top of mind when it comes to storage innovation. Sixty-one percent of tech executives cited either data security or data privacy among their top choices for where they want to see Flash storage design breakthroughs in the next three years.
Sustainability was a third area of expected innovation with calls for more energy efficient hardware and software and automated recommendations for reducing energy and CO2 topping the list.
NetApp partnered with Wakefield Research to conduct a quantitative research study from September 29, 2023, to October 5, 2023, among 1,000 C-levels, tech and data executives at businesses in 6 markets: US, EMEA (France, Germany, the UK), and APAC (India, Japan).