Unstructured Data

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What is Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is information that does not fit into a predefined data model or schema, such as a relational database management system, or even non-relational databases such as NoSQL. The vast majority of data in the world is unstructured, encompassing text, rich media, video, images, audio, sensor data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and more. Unstructured data can be created by humans or machines, and is challenging to store or analyze using traditional data management strategies.

Why Is Unstructured Data Important?

Data is increasingly recognized as the most important asset that businesses possess. Yet few organizations have been able to reap full value from the immense volumes of unstructured data — estimated by analysts to be 80 percent of all data they generate or otherwise acquire during the course of doing business. Managing unstructured data at scale using conventional file services approaches with network attached storage (NAS) devices has proven difficult and costly because of data replication, physical limitations and governance challenges.

Organizations can extract tremendous value from unstructured data with the right tools. For example, businesses could mine social media posts for data that reflects satisfaction with their brands. Clinicians at hospitals could share a common — and massive — repository of genomic sequences for research purposes.

But how and where to store all this unstructured data, as files or objects, has continued to challenge businesses. Traditional NAS infrastructure helps with performance but it is costly and doesn’t scale out. Next-generation, scale-out NAS is available, but not yet widely deployed. Software-defined object storage is beginning to be deployed but most enterprise workloads weren’t designed to use object storage. Adoption has been slow and difficult. Enterprises need a more scalable and efficient way to manage unstructured data.

A Modern Approach to Managing Files and Objects

Cohesity’s software-defined, hyperscale platform simplifies data management by consolidating backups as well as unstructured data in the form of files and objects from multiple application workloads on a single platform. The platform is architected on Cohesity SpanFS, a unique globally distributed file system that supports a variety of protocols, including NFS, SMB, OpenStack Swift, and S3 object storage.

With Cohesity, your organization can protect existing NAS investments — in fact optimize them — by only using that storage for higher performance data while offloading infrequently accessed unstructured data to Cohesity SmartFiles. A modern approach to files and objects management, SmartFiles eliminates legacy hardware forklift upgrades and costly and time-consuming manual infrastructure updates while guaranteeing all of your unstructured data is protected wherever it resides — in the data center, the cloud, or at the edge.

Cohesity SmartFiles also features:

  • Unlimited scaling in a pay-as-you-grow model
  • Global deduplication and compression
  • Global actionable search on all file and object metadata
  • User and file system quotas with audit logs
  • Small file optimization
  • Integration with Cohesity Marketplace apps for increased data visibility, cyberthreat resilience, and analytics
  • Lower TCO for unstructured data management


  • Cohesity SmartFiles Takes On Unstructured Data
    Understand how to harness the power of beyond scale-out NAS

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