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How rethinking data storage can unleash AI’s potential

03 Oct 2018

Article by Pure Storage Asia Pacific technical services vice president Mark Jobbins

It was the acclaimed American academic Thomas H. Davenport who boldly proclaimed back in 2012 that, “Every company has big data in its future and every company will eventually be in the data business.” Looking at the world today, it’s clear he was onto something.

The emergence of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) has seen Australian and New Zealand businesses become laser-focused on the power of analytics and automation to drive insights and increase efficiencies.

The aspirations and ambitions are there but it’s important to first lay down the structural foundations required to unleash these next-generation technologies. In the age of big data, the power comes in setting data free - and that’s where having the right storage comes into play.

Storage has a unique opportunity to become much more than a siloed repository for the flood of data being generated in our hyper-connected world, but rather the platform that shares and delivers data to create value. As an industry, a fundamental shift in mindset is required. We must create modern architectures to facilitate this.

Across Asia-Pacific, AI and cognitive system investment is predicted to reach AUD$6.35 billion by 2021, according to IDC. The possibilities of AI across industries are endless - from powering automated vehicle networks to reshape urban planning to advancing genome sequencing that transforms medical diagnostics and developing chatbots to deliver enhanced customer experiences.

The opportunity for A/NZ to capitalise on emerging technologies such as AI is staggering. A recent report from CSIRO’s Data61 revealed that digital innovation can deliver $315 billion in gross economic value to the country over the next decade.

This extends to a $30-50 billion opportunity in areas such as precision healthcare and data-driven urban development. Modern analytics and AI sit at the heart of digital innovation which is set to revolutionise all industries.

Across the globe, organisations are more empowered than ever by data-driven insights which power emerging technologies such as AI and provide a competitive edge. In fact, a recent survey conducted by MIT Technology Review and commissioned by Pure Storage, revealed an overwhelming 86% of leaders across the world believe data is the foundation for making business decisions, while 87% say it’s key to delivering results for customers.

What fuels emerging technologies such as AI? The answer is data.

Data is to AI as fuel is to an engine. You can’t have one without the other. Yet today’s data is often stuck in legacy architectures that create silos like data lakes. It is simply stored and catalogued for future use. Data lakes were developed for the world of the disc and were not built to deliver data in real-time and in a multi-dimensional way, effectively locking today’s data away and suppressing its value.

This is systemic across the industry as historically we’ve been focused on developing technologies which store data which, by its very nature, has created these silos. It’s high time for the industry to rethink its approach to storage. Which is why Pure Storage recently introduced the data hub, our vision to refocus the industry by focusing on unifying and sharing data.

This new approach will empower organisations to truly put their data to work and pave the way for society at large to tap the potential of AI. Data-driven technologies have emerged as business-critical assets. As an industry, we must look beyond traditional approaches to data storage to power modern analytic initiatives.

To capture the opportunity on offer to A/NZ businesses, we must collectively rethink the way we approach data storage and move towards a new way of unifying, sharing, and realising its full promise.

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