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The Virtualization of Data

by Hu Yoshida on Jun 23, 2011

Most people understand what we mean by the virtualization of storage. Virtualization of storage enables us to separate the application and data from the management of the storage infrastructure. Now we can tier, expand, tune, replicate, and refresh storage infrastructure without disruption to the application or data.

For some time now, we also have been providing for virtualization of data, which enables us to separate the data from the changes in the application and makes it available to other applications with content awareness.

business-valueIncreasing Business Value of Data

Virtualization of data enables us to dereference the data from the application that created it so that it can be stored, searched, accessed and repurposed without the application. The business value of the data is enhanced because it is no longer tied to one application.

When data is separated from the application, it is just a bunch of bits, unless you put that data into a container, along with meta-data that describes the data and the policies that may govern its use or life cycle. Once the data is containerized, it no longer needs the application that created it and it becomes an object or content that can be used by other applications.

We call this virtualization of data the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP). When combined with our storage virtualization platform, the content resides at the core and can live indefinitely, independent of the changes in infrastructure and applications.

Data that resides in our Hitachi Content Platform is immutable. We create a hash of the data and meta-data when we ingest it so that we can check the hash when we access, move, or refresh the infrastructure that it resides on. It is encrypted for privacy and can be replicated to another Hitachi Content Platform for availability, which eliminates the need for backup. Policies can be used to automate the life cycle of the content.  Data can be accessed based on content awareness and ingestion and access can be done over restful interfaces, which makes it ideal for the cloud.

Payformance is an early adopter of our content platform, which it uses for medical billing. They ingest the billing artifacts directly into HCP and process the billing on this platform. When it is ingested, the data is automatically replicated to HCP in another location, which eliminates the need for back up. If you would like more information about their implementation, please see their application brief.

Now that most of you have virtualized your servers and storage, isn’t it time to think about data virtualization to further reduce your costs and increase the business value of your data?

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Hu Yoshida
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