According to experts, the future of the data revolution will be unstructured data due to its massive demand. Around 95% of businesses rely on unstructured data, and this is further increasing with the passage of time (source).
With the increase in the amount of unstructured data, the biggest concern is storage. Businesses and users try multiple methods to store their unstructured data in secured storage and access it easily whenever needed.
In this article, we will discuss what unstructured data is and how it is different from structured data. We will also explain how to store unstructured data through various methods and by using secure cloud hosting service.
What Is Unstructured Data?
Unstructured data is a kind of data that is not organized. It does not follow any criteria, rules, or structure. Therefore, it can be in any format or arrangement, such as alphabetical, numerical, alphanumerical, Boolean, special characters, etc.
Another name for unstructured data is Big Data. For the processing of such data, special methods and tools are used. According to stats, the big data analytics market could reach $103 billion by 2023 (source).
Unstructured data is increasing day by day because it is generated through tons of sources. We also go through unstructured data every day without realizing it. For instance, the documents we have, such as invoices, emails, and records, are examples of unstructured data. Even the audio and videos are included in the Big Data category.
In 2020, each individual generated around 1.7 megabytes of unstructured data in a second (source).
The data is exploding due to the use of social media, apps, satellite data, IoT, AI, etc. For instance, the data generated through the social media is unstructured data. We consume multimedia content each day for several hours and sometimes most of the day.
We use WhatsApp for messaging. Each day, there are over 65 billion messages. We use Google multiple times a day, and the search engine processes over 8.5 billion searches every day. All this is increasing Big Data day by day.
The data collected from sensors, let’s say a temperature sensor, is also unstructured data. We get data from the sensors we place in our homes, inside machines, or in any harsh environment for monitoring. Even the data that satellites receive and forward is unstructured data.
Other than that, we have text, mobile activity, data mining, data analytics, chatbots, and tons of other things that collect unstructured data. Thus, it has exceptional value, and it is the future.
Structured vs. Unstructured Data
Have you ever seen data filled in a table or organized spreadsheet?
That is what the structured data is. It is quantitative data structured on the basis of criteria. Due to organization, it can be understood by humans as well as machines.
Let’s make it simpler. Look at the in the following line and observe it carefully.
You might have guessed it right. It is a date and the special day of Christmas.
But how did you get that? Because the data is organized in a format, and there is a specific structure, which is DD-MM-YYYY.
Similarly, there are tons of things we encounter in our daily lives that are structured data. The addresses, phone numbers, banking details, flight data, etc.
Structured data is easy to use. It does not require exceptional expertise in Data Science. It can be used by AI and ML algorithms without any hassle.
Now, you might be thinking why unstructured data is preferred over structured data. Firstly, the criteria and rules of structure data limit the usage. It means the data can be used for a specific purpose only. On the other hand, unstructured data can be used for any purpose.
Secondly, it is difficult to store structured data, and there are limited options. However, unstructured data can be collected and stored quickly.
Unstructured data is quite useful; however, it requires expertise for processing. Data scientists use their knowledge and skills to analyze the data.
Now, unstructured data is being used in various industries. Here are some astonishing statistics,
- Netflix saves around $1 billion per year using Big Data
- The worth of unstructured data in healthcare will be over $71.6 billion by 2027
- Unstructured data analytics for banking will be worth $62.10 billion by 2025.
80-90% of data is unstructured, which is why it is wise to deal with unstructured data and analyze it. It is more informational and valuable than structured data.
How to Store Unstructured Data?
Before processing unstructured data, we need to store it. Although it can be used through multiple methods, we are going to discuss a few of them in detail. You need to select the right one according to your needs.
1) File Systems
The file system is an old method of storing unstructured data. It follows a hierarchical structure, which is complicated and costly.
A file system is similar to a tree. For instance, there is a folder inside a folder, and the list goes on. To access any file, you have to go through all the folders from the top of the tree to the exact location of the file.
It can be used to store unstructured data, but object storage is preferred over this method. The major issue of a traditional file system is its complexity and scalability. But if the data is minimal and the scalability is considered, it could be an excellent choice.
2) Free Storage: Cloud-based Solutions like Google Cloud Storage or TeraBox
Free cloud storage is an incredible way of storing unstructured data. It is capable of handling large amounts of data and making it ready for processing.
In this storage method, the data is considered as units or objects. Each unit has separate metadata and an identifier to differentiate from other units and access it without any hassle. When you want to access the data, it is found through the unique identifier and the metadata.
The best thing about object storage is the scalability, and there is no limit. Secondly, the data access is much faster. There is no hierarchy, which is why finding the desired data is easy and quick. Due to extra classification in the metadata, the data analysis becomes better. Even after all these benefits, the cost of storage is still minimal. Thus, companies prefer this method over others.
Object storage can be done in the cloud as well as in-house storage units. However, the cloud is preferred because it offers easy access to data, optimal security, and lots of other benefits. You can use cloud-based solutions like Google Cloud Storage and TeraBox.
TeraBox is an incredible cloud storage that offers up to 1 TB of free storage where you can store your unstructured data. You can also upgrade and get more space, and it costs only $3.45 for 2 TB.
The security of TeraBox is up to mark. It also offers you a personal vault where you can store more important unstructured data with extra security.
The best part is that TeraBox makes accessing and sharing files easier. The data can be accessed from any device and anywhere in the world. Most importantly, data can be shared with anyone, along with a control on the password and validity period. You can transfer large files free in no time.
Let’s see how you can get started with TeraBox.
Step 1: Download TeraBox from the official website and install it on your computer.
Step 2: Open TeraBox. Sign in through your social accounts or create a new account.
Step 3: After logging in, you can now upload data. Click on the Upload button and select the files. The files will be uploaded.
Step 4: Now, you can access those files from anywhere. If you want to share, select any image. Click on the Share button. You can share the link or enter the email address of the recipient.
3) Distributed File Systems
A Distributed File System (DFS) is a special type of file system where the data or file can be accessed from multiple locations. It is constituted through multiple servers at different locations, which make the sharing and accessing of file more convenient.
DFS does not compromise on the performance. The data can be accessed as it is stored in local storage. So, analyzing data stored in DFS is much better than traditional file systems.
The benefit of DFS is its scalability. It is possible to add more servers as the business grows. Secondly, it has the capability to tolerate faults. Even if there is an issue with any servers, the others will work properly, and there won’t be an issue in accessing data.
4) NoSQL Databases
Unstructured data can be stored in NoSQL databases. It stores data in one data structure without the use of tables and trees.
The benefits of NoSQL databases are the high speed and easy scalability. As there are no complex data structures, it can store and access data quickly. Secondly, it works on multiple servers, so the servers can be increased when needed.
The best part is it is more reliable. If any server faces a problem, the database still works. It is a preferred method of storing unstructured data. Companies use it for application data, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc.
Popular companies that use NoSQL databases are Google, Amazon, Netflix, Meta, Microsoft, Uber, Airbnb, etc.
Unstructured data is the future, and the data we collect is mostly in this form. Companies rely on unstructured data for analysis, but before that, they need a reliable and secure space to store that data.
We have discussed how to store unstructured data. There are multiple options, but if you want to try out an easy and efficient way, you can go with object storage. You can use TeraBox and store your data for free. It offers up to 1 TB of free storage space when you create a new account. It is reliable, secure, and beginner-friendly cloud storage that makes sharing and accessing files easier and faster. Download TeraBox APK and store unstructured data without any hassle.