UPDATED 15:00 EST / JANUARY 20 2014

4 questions for modern storage : Digital data can make or break your business

Storage can make or break your organization. An integral part of the modern data center, it’s the link between collecting, analyzing and ultimately acting on Big Data. Without storage, the data revolution we’re experiencing right now falls flat on its face.

In 2006, John F. Gantz, David Reinsel and other researchers at the IDC released a white paper titled “The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth through 2010.” It was the first study of its kind to estimate and forecast the amount of digital data created and replicated each year. The synapsis? The information added annually to the digital universe would double every 18 months. In follow up releases of the same study (2010) and (2012), the amount of digital data created annually trumped even their predictions. Survey says? 2010 saw 1227 exabytes created and 2012 exploded with 2837 exabytes.

Saying storage is in the midst of a disruption would be an understatement. Here to put that transformation into context is Sean Derrington, Senior Director of Products at Exablox. According to Derrington, modern storage technology that utilizes flash, cloud and scale-out can help cut the time-to-recovery of storage environments by as much as 60 percent. Collecting, analyzing and acting on your data as a business is going to be crucial in the digital world moving forward.

Below, Derrington provides insight on four questions a business should consider for their storage needs:

  1. Is your storage unforgiving to manage?
  2. Is your storage a cost burden?
  3. Does recovering files require help desk support?
  4. Does scaling your storage require extensive planning and calculation?

 

If a business answers yes to any of these questions, Derrington says that your storage is being ineffective and could greatly benefit from modern storage technology.  The following is an excerpt from Derrington’s full interview:

Is your storage unforgiving to manage?

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Managing legacy storage is complicated and unforgiving. Inflexible islands of storage prevent companies from allocating the storage they have to the applications that need it. They are often required to maintain dedicated servers to manage their storage. Moreover, replication between distributed sites can be a configuration nightmare. The complexity of integrating and customizing storage to an organization’s needs can be so overwhelming that there may be no choice but to hire costly third-party experts just to make it work.

To find an effective storage solution companies should look for intelligent storage that requires nearly zero configuration for storage management tasks. This will allow previously complex and time-intensive tasks such as deployment, upgrade, and failed drive replacement to now be done in minutes with zero configuration. Companies will no longer have to maintain separate dedicated servers to manage islands of storage. Plus, they can now manage an on-premises storage from anywhere, using any web browser.

Is your storage a cost burden?

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Instead of being a business asset that can boost productivity and profitability, traditional storage is often a cost burden. Juggling the complexity of traditional storage – capacity planning and purchasing that’s done on an annual basis – leads to wasted capacity and higher management overhead. The need to hire external consultants, buy marked-up commodity hardware, and forklift upgrades can cause costs to skyrocket.

Effective storage will add business value by cutting costs and providing a greater return on investment. Intelligent object-based storage appliances streamline configuration to cut administrative and consulting overhead, and prevent costly disruptions. The flexibility to mix and match drive types foregoes added costs of marked up commodity hardware. Deploying a next generation storage solution, the same solution large scale public cloud storage providers use, on-premises goes a long way in reducing storage costs.

Does recovering files require help desk support?

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Typically, when an employee needs to recover data from ineffective legacy storage, they require help desk support and IT resources—even to recover a single file. What’s more, backups are often run once a day exposing employees to permanent loss of data if the information was originally created after the last backup. Using traditional techniques, workflow and business continuity can come to a standstill as IT struggles with time-consuming recovery of data and storage environments.

Effective storage solution will ensure information is always available and the success of your organization. These storage solutions can replicate information across distributed environments in real time, and continually capture snapshots of file changes. Employees can now easily and securely locate and recover whatever version of their own data they need, even in the last few second, all without the IT organization’s intervention.

Does scaling your storage require extensive planning and calculation?

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Attempting to scale legacy storage can land the best of people on the ineffective practitioners list. Legacy scale-up architectures require adding more disks and extensive planning and painstaking calculation. Typically, companies are forced to sacrifice performance as you add capacity due to the typical controller-based architecture. The alternative, add storage by expanding into new arrays, creating isolated islands of storage. This approach complicates management, fosters duplication, and keeps applications from collaboratively sharing pools of data.

Applications — and organizations — require an effective solution enabling a single pool of storage capacity to handle today’s high-density, and ever changing unstructured data. Advancements in object-based technology allow storage to be scaled out dynamically. At the same time, effective storage can now enhance data availability and performance as it scales over time to meet the changing needs of your business.

Effective storage can make or break a business moving forward in the digital data-driven world we live in now. Big Data brings plenty of opportunities to better serve your customers; however the level of storage and security you invest into your collecting, analyzing and acting on the exabytes of digital data created will separate the winners from the losers.

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