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Data Gravity: Growing Cloud Repository Sizes Flip the Dynamics of IT

By Dick Weisinger

The larger data repositories grow, the more important they become as a source of information. The bigger the system, the more rooted the data becomes and the more difficult it is to migrate the data into a new location or system.

Dave McCrory called this idea data gravity, and wrote about in his 2010 blog, saying that “as data accumulates (builds mass) there is a greater likelihood that additional services and applications will be attracted to this data. Data gravity arises from latency and throughput, which act as the accelerators in continuing a stronger and stronger reliance or pull on each other.”

The cloud was an early victim of data gravity. On-premise data could not be quickly relocated into the cloud, and because moving on-premise data into the cloud is typically slow, data migration became a roadblock to businesses with large amounts of data when deciding to move to the cloud. The move has still happened, it has just taken time. As cloud repositories grow in size, data gravity will flip in favor of the cloud and increasingly large cloud-based data repositories will lead to vendor lock-in and large data sets that will be difficult to migrate.

Business data is undergoing a slow but steady migration from on-premise to external locations. Constellation Research estimates that by 2020 more than 60 percent of mission critical information will not be located on-premise.

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