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Mass data fragmentation impedes digital transformation. It’s a serious obstacle (or issue) burdening IT teams responsible for driving innovation while managing costs and risks. Yet the technology industry has done little to prevent it. That’s left organizations with an outdated, unsustainable approach to managing, protecting, and utilizing their most valuable digital resource, their data.

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Defining Mass Data Fragmentation

So what exactly is mass data fragmentation? And how do you assess it to make informed decisions about how to address mass data fragmentation in your organization?

Mass data fragmentation refers to the huge, or massive, and growing proliferation of (secondary) data across different locations, infrastructure silos, and management systems that prevents organizations from fully realizing their data’s value.


The vast majority of an organization’s data—approximately 80%—is not actively in use in primary systems (for example, a current customer database).  It is largely non-mission critical, low service-level agreement (SLA) secondary data that’s stored in backups, archives, file shares, object stores, test and development systems, and analytics datasets, onsite and across private and public clouds.

Fragmentation across IT Silos

Secondary IT operations such as backups, file sharing/storage, provisioning for test/dev, and analytics are being done in completely separate infrastructure stacks that don’t share data or resources, with no central visibility or control.

Fragmentation within Silos

Organizations even operate silos within silos, for example with backup, where it is not uncommon to have 4 or 5 separate backup products from different vendors, plus a range of appliances, servers, cloud gateways and so on—just for backup.

Fragmentation due to Copies

It’s estimated that up to 60% of secondary data storage is taken up by copies that needlessly increase space and cost. This isn’t just user behavior—lack of sharing between siloed infrastructure operations makes this problem worse.

Fragmentation across Different Locations

Enterprises have more options than ever to store data in multiple locations, from traditional data centers to private and public clouds, remote offices, and edge locations. Conventional infrastructure can’t easily span across these distributed data islands, making it harder for IT to provide control, visibility, or SLAs.

87% Report Organization’s Data is Fragmented

Mass data fragmentation is a major problem for businesses, according to recent survey respondents. IT experts say they are dealing with unnecessary storage and Op Ex costs, grappling with inadequate infrastructure and integration, and in constant fear of a compliance breach because their organization’s data is fragmented.

Exploding Volume

Data is being generated at the rate of 50,000 GB per second. Unless IT teams get it under control, they will increasingly become overwhelmed and unable to serve the business

Costly Storage

The policy of ‘keeping everything forever’ is increasingly untenable as organizations discover the true cost of cloud and disc storage, and the accompanying compliance risk.

Outdated Infrastructure

There has been little innovation in secondary infrastructure over the years, leaving IT with a siloed jumble of single-purpose tools that weren’t designed for the modern web-scale era

Dark Data

Most IT managers can't easily map where their data is located or identify its contents, making it almost impossible to manage or exploit for competitive advantage

Compliance Risk

Tougher privacy laws such as the GDPR require companies to manage personal data responsibly, but fragmentation and lack of visibility are making a non-compliance fine almost a certainty

IT Inefficiency

Fragmentation places an extra burden on already stretched IT teams with multiple user interfaces and specialist tools to manage, and limits their abilities to meet SLAs or across a complex landscape