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Volume 30, Issue 1

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Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:58

Data Gravity and the Distributed Enterprise

As data becomes more fungible, that is, less engaged with the physical infrastructure that supports higher level virtual and cloud architectures, the overall data environment starts to exhibit new characteristics, some of which will dramatically alter the way in which those environments are built and operated.

Of late, the concept of data gravity has been showing up in tech conferences and discussion groups. Coined by VMware’s Dave McCrory about four years ago, it describes the way data behaves in highly distributed architectures. Rather than becoming evenly distributed across a flattened fabric, data tends to collect in pockets, with smaller bits of data gravitating toward larger sets the same way that particles coalesced into galaxies after the Big Bang. Part of this is due to the nature of distributed architectures where the farther away storage is from processing centers and endpoints, the greater the cost, complexity and latency. But it is also a function of the data itself, particularly now that all information must be “contextualized” with reams of metadata for it to be useful.