The Ups and Potential Downs of Data Fragmentation Management

Data Fragmentation

Have you ever heard the saying that businesses run on data? Without data, it’s impossible to make accurate decisions about almost all aspects of your business. You may miss out on industry trends, lose customers, and possibly never realize your organization’s full potential. 

Data is often essential for a business’s success, and the more information coming in the better. This brings us to strategies for effective data fragmentation management. But what is data fragmentation? We’ll answer this question and take a look at some of the advantages and potential downsides.

What is Data Fragmentation?

Okay, so you have large chunks of data coming in—maybe, it’s data from the previous year’s sales. At the moment, you only care about a few months’ worth of data. You don’t need data from the entire year. This is when data fragmentation comes in. This is the process of breaking data down into smaller pieces, also known as fragments. These fragments are stored separately instead of as a whole chunk.

You even have options on how the data is separated. You can fragment data at the logical, physical, or application levels. Breaking a single file into pieces applies to logical fragmentation. 

Physical fragmentation happens when the data is purposefully dispersed across multiple servers or storage devices. Application fragmentation is when you use various software applications to store pieces of data.

Advantages of Data Fragmentation

Breaking your data down into tiny pieces of information can have some advantages. If you’re searching for a specific piece of information, for example, the sales report from a specific day. Since you’re not pouring over reams of data, you can usually find the information more quickly and easily. This can allow you to make last-minute decisions that impact your profit margin.

Here’s an example. You’re getting ready to hold a sale but aren’t sure which day attracts the most customers. Using fragmented data, you can quickly determine what your busiest day is. You can even track which items you sold the most on that day so you have a better idea of what to place on sale.

Some other advantages of data fragmentation include the following:

  • Clear up some storage space: If your company has a lot of data, finding storage space can be a problem. You need to have room to safely store the huge chunks of data and this may mean deleting some old files or investing in additional storage options. By breaking the data down into smaller pieces, finding storage space across multiple devices is easier. Instead of relying on a single location to have space, you only need a small amount of room for the data fragments.
  • Flexible and scalable: Businesses typically love solutions that are flexible and scalable. So many opportunities can open up when you can scale and manage your stored data. Your Chicago organization only needs to add storage devices as necessary and if you still need to add another server or storage device, you have a Chicago IT service partner to help and avoid disrupting your current data management processes.

Another advantage is the improvement in data security. Almost all industries have strict data storage requirements. The healthcare industry is regulated by HIPAA rules, even retail outfits are required to keep all consumer personal information secure from hackers. 

Violating these regulations can result in hefty fines, and you’re also risking losing consumer trust in your brand if a breach occurs. Fragmenting the data and storing it across multiple devices effectively improves your security measures.

Potential Downsides of Data Fragmentation

While data fragmentation can have some undeniable advantages, it can also come with a few potential downsides. You may run into issues with longer delay times when you’re accessing the data files. Since the data is spread out over multiple devices, it can take a while to collect all of the information.

You also have the risk of human error. Your staff is often responsible for sending the data to the different servers and mistakes can happen, which can make it difficult to find and access the data when it’s needed. 

Spreading large amounts of data across several devices can be time-consuming. Your IT staff can easily find themselves overwhelmed and falling behind in their other tasks. Managing fragmented data is time-consuming, even for smaller operations, and this can also affect costs. 

You may find you’re paying more to fragment and store the data than the benefits are worth. Since every organization is unique and has different needs, data fragmentation may not be the best solution for everyone.

With that being said, the benefits can also outweigh any potential downsides, it often comes to what information you need and how often you need to use the data.