In the era of digital transformation, machine learning, analytics, IoT, automation, cloud, and cybersecurity rank high on nearly every enterprise\u2019s IT priority list. Combined, these technologies help organizations leapfrog their competitors\u2014or make groundbreaking discoveries\u2014by enabling faster, better decisions and actions based on data-driven insights. Data is the fuel that is powering digital transformation. So, I ask you: Is data storage high on your priority list?\r\nThere\u2019s a tsunami of data heading our way\r\nThe information age is moving into a data-driven economy on a scale we haven\u2019t seen before. The ability to combine, manipulate, and analyze massive data sets through A.I. and machine learning will unlock near limitless innovation and productivity gains for businesses and organizations. But with this opportunity comes a silent yet massive problem. And the problem is growing.\r\n\r\nThis mind-blowing chart from IDC shows the tidal wave of data that will be generated as we continue to connect more devices and thinking machines to the Internet of everything.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nYou may be asking, \u201cwhat the heck is a zettabyte?\u201d One zettabyte is equal to one trillion gigabytes. According to IDC and others, by 2025 the total sum of all digital data generated worldwide is predicted to be more than 163 trillion gigabytes.\r\n\r\nIf our ability to compete, increase productivity, and to innovate is tied to our ability to extract value from data, then our ability to economically store and quickly retrieve these massive data sets must be considered in our digital transformation strategies.\r\nIs the future of storage on-premises or in the cloud?\r\nWhen you look at numbers like this, it\u2019s hard to imagine that continuing to invest in traditional on-premises storage will be the answer. On-premises storage challenges include:\r\n\r\n \tHigh CAPEX and OPEX costs\r\n \tLimited scalability\r\n \tInevitable hardware obsolescence\r\n\r\nGartner predicts that by 2022, more than 80% of enterprises will move to some form of cloud storage or hybrid cloud and on-premises strategy. Given the cloud\u2019s incredible economies of scale and pay-as-you go scalability, this prediction seems like a safe bet. However, current generation cloud vendors\u2014what we call cloud 1.0\u2014are optimized for cloud computing, not cloud storage. When you do the math, you\u2019ll find that there really isn\u2019t an economic advantage to migrating from on-premises storage to cloud 1.0 storage solutions like Amazon S3.\r\nComplex storage tiers add to the problem\r\nAll the major cloud vendors offer lower-cost cold storage tiers, such as Amazon Glacier. On the face of it, having these different storage tiers may make sense: keep the data you actively access in fast, expensive tiers, and archive the data you don\u2019t expect to use in cheap cold storage. Here are some of the problems with that:\r\n\r\n \tPulling data back from cold storage is cost prohibitive. By the time you pay for all the extra fees for egress and API calls, the money you \u201csaved\u201d in cold storage will evaporate.\r\n \tAccessing your data from cold storage is not immediate. You must notify your cloud vendor that you want to access your data. It could take 24 hours or more just to start the download process.\r\n \tIf you store a lot of data, you will need to invest in additional headcount or technology just to be able to determine the most cost-effective tiering strategy for your stored data.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s the answer to the big data storage problem?\r\nBig data insights will require more than analysis of real-time data. Successful data-driven organizations will also have planned for fast access to large historical data sets. That means long-term storage that is hot-storage fast and cold-storage cheap. The storage solution you select for digital transformation must be 100% reliable and secure, with predictable pricing \u2013 so no extra fees for API calls or egress. And it should be simple\u2014only one tier of service\u2014so you don\u2019t need calculators, software, or highly paid personnel to figure out where to store your data.\r\n\r\nTo learn more about the reasons for the upcoming data tsunami and what you can do to prepare, check out The Storage Professional\u2019s Guide to Surviving the Big Data Apocalypse.