5 Methods of Controlling Storage Complexity

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“Everything should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler – Albert Einstein.”

 

Back in the day, data storage was fairly simple; you chose the media, either disk or tape, captured the data and stored it. You may have needed to perform backup once in a while but that was it. Fast forward to the digital age when data is growing at an exponential speed and data storage has evolved into a complex and chaotic state that is seemingly more and more out of control.

It’s no wonder that a recent study conducted by Loudhouse Research Ltd (commissioned by SUSE, Q4 2016) found that 71% of senior IT decision makers responded that their storage systems were complex, highly fragmented and said they want to “simplify their company’s storage approach” as their No. 1 priority over the next 12 months. The good news is that there are solutions to tackle today’s storage management challenges.

  1. Software-Defined Storage

The idea behind software-defined storage (SDS) is to use computer data storage software for policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware.

Traditional data storage cannot overcome today’s challenges of scale, integration and flexibility. If your solution for managing data growth is simply to buy more storage capacity, sooner or later you’ll be facing dramatically increased costs for both storage and management. Manually managing across heterogeneous storage systems, silos and clouds is not only error-prone but also leads to administrative overhead.

Software-defined storage addresses these challenges by separating the software that provides the intelligence for storage from the traditional hardware platform. The results include easier storage management, lower storage costs and anywhere-anytime access to support cloud storage.

  1. Flash Storage

Flash storage is not a brand new technology; we’ve been using it for years in everyday life – portable USB drives, smartphones, cameras are all examples of flash storage. It is however, only through some amazing advances in the technologies in recent years, that flash has become the default option for enterprise storage solutions.

As IDC’s report notes, “All-flash Arrays (AFAs) were first known for their extraordinary performance; however, AFAs are beginning to be known for their consistent performance.” This has made flash a go-to technology platform for performance intensive workloads such as big data/Hadoop, OLTP, and virtual desktop infrastructure, to name a few. Besides AFAs’ unbeatable performance, the major benefits also include a dramatic consolidation in the amount of physical space consumed in any given data centre. That space reduction, in turn, reduces the number of square feet that needs to be acquired as well as the amount of power required for flash storage.

Whether you’re running multiple applications in a multi-tenancy environment or heterogeneous environments with big data and business critical applications, flash delivers a unique combination of improved business benefits and lower operating expenses.

  1. Object Storage

Originally emerging in the mid 90’s and mainly intended for archiving, Object Storage exploded onto the scene once cloud applications appeared. Instead of using a complex, difficult to manage and antiquated file system, object storage systems leverage a single flat address space that enables the automatic routing of data to the right storage systems.

IDC projects that the total amount of data will grow to 44 zettabytes by 2020, and 80% of that will be unstructured data. Your content is diverse – requiring storage flexibility across private, dedicated and public clouds. And the diverse ways you use your data is just as important to consider as how you store it. Object Storage turns your storage challenges into business advantages by aligning the value of data and the cost of storing it while providing infinite scalability to support the capacity-on-demand capability of cloud storage.

  1. Copy Data Management

Copy data management (CDM) is a trend in the market that continues to accelerate. The basic concept is to allow multiple workflows to access the same data — rather than proliferate independent copies for test/dev, analytics, disaster-recovery tests, e-discovery and more.

It catalogs copy data from across your local and hybrid cloud and off-site cloud infrastructure, identifies duplicates and compares copy requests to existing copies. This ensures that the minimum number of copies is created to service your various business needs.

  1. Tape

Yes, I realize in some cases tape storage is considered antiquated and has been declared “dead” many times in the past. The truth is tape is enjoying a deployment renaissance thanks to the explosion of data volumes and tape’s ultra-low storage costs.

Used as part of a software-defined storage environment that reduces overall storage complexity, tape can be remarkably easy to deploy and manage and provide you with the benefits of efficiency, scalability and security that you simply can’t ignore. As part of a blended storage strategy that also includes disk, flash and cloud, tape can also play an important role in lowering storage costs.

You can’t return to the simple storage methods of the past. You can, however, look at your entire system, figure out ultimately what you’re trying to achieve for your business and build a storage strategy that leverages different technologies/solutions to best support your business objectives.

To start seeing improvements in your storage performance now, contact us today to receive a free storage assessment / consultation that will identify potential issues in your environments.

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About johnjblair

John J. Blair is the President and CEO of Blair Technology Solutions responsible for technology, innovation, and providing customized IT strategies to strengthen operations for enterprises across various industry verticals. His reputation is renowned as a results-driven leader, whose effective team-building skills and strategic development expertise have helped his clients achieve IT business success with cost-effective solutions. With almost 35 years in the IT industry, John has established a highly skilled team with expertise in providing personalized and customized IT solutions to a variety enterprises across Canada. Under his tutelage, his company is committed to customer service excellence, providing IT professional technicians to support the ongoing growth and needs of any IT department. Always on the leading edge of emerging technologies, John entered into the Managed Services field early and developed a Managed Services division under the Blair brand. John holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University and has many industry certifications.
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