Businesses are under pressure to deliver better customer experiences and increased revenue while decreasing costs, which results in shrinking IT budgets. This is compounded by the need to store ever-increasing volumes of data to deliver these services.

By Hayden Sadler, country manager at Infinidat South Africa

Businesses simply cannot afford to run out of storage capacity but the current path of continually purchasing additional capacity is unsustainable. Not only does it increase costs, it also adds siloes of information, which make effective data analytics impossible. An intelligent approach to future-proofing data storage is therefore essential.

Digital means data

The further entrenched we become in a digital landscape, the more data we generate across the board. This need is only growing as the Internet of Things (IoT) pushes more data to the edge and adds an infinite number of connected devices.

Delivering an enhanced customer experience (CX) has also become critical, which means that not only are we generating more data than ever, we are also storing huge volumes of data for analytical and insight purposes.

The requirement to do more with less is at odds with the need to store more data. This relentless data growth has effectively forced organisations to deploy multiple siloes of storage with a trade-off between capacity and performance. Large data sets are often moved to lower tiers to make storage less costly, but the impact is that analytics cannot be executed effectively as performance is compromised.

In addition, multiple siloes drive up the cost and complexity of the environment. This conflicts with the goal of streamlining storage and associated processes, giving rise to the requirement for an intelligent approach.

Adding intelligence into storage

Traditionally the characteristics of storage have been defined by the storage media and the storage media defines the cost. For example, tape as a storage medium is extremely cost effective, but low performance. On the other end of the spectrum, All-Flash Array (AFA) storage offers extreme performance but comes with a price tag to match.

In order to meet the need for capacity and performance, organisations have had to compromise. They have had to implement lower performance storage at higher capacity to deal with huge data volumes, as well as higher performance but lower capacity to address the requirement for availability. This has resulted, in a proliferation of siloes and the need to constantly churn data because of the characteristics of the hardware used to store it.

The trick is to have the characteristics of the storage defined by the software instead of the hardware, so that it becomes unnecessary to constantly replace or add hardware. Using intelligent software to deliver on data storage requirements enables businesses to leverage the most cost-effective architecture and the right balance of cost versus performance.

Capacity on demand to future-proof storage infrastructure

Using intelligent software to deliver on data storage requirements also enables organisations to leverage a Capacity On Demand (COD) model.

This is a crucial element in future-proofing data storage. It is cost effective, agile, flexible and enables additional capacity to be provisioned instantly because it is already there waiting to be used.

The software is what adds this layer of intelligence and scalability. Investment into intelligent data storage is essential to break the vicious cycle of constantly adding and replacing hardware to deal with unrelenting data growth.