Data storage: spend wisely, plan for growth…and prepare for problems

22 June 2021

By Mark Radford, director enterprise sales UK, Infinidat

By Mark Radford, director enterprise sales UK, Infinidat

For most UK businesses the last 18 months have brought reality to what had previously been theoretical digital transformation plans.

Automation had already been happening in many parts of the data storage centre, data volumes were exploding and deep learning -- an element of artificial intelligence -- had also started to affect processes. There was the continuous danger of confusion and inefficiency, even complete project failure, unless you could prioritise essential infrastructure, capacity and performance needs under a lot of pressure.

As the point people for the technology that powers their businesses, most IT decision makers have had to adapt swiftly -- conserving human resources and costs but also enabling agility and capitalising on new innovations. The only way to really step forward when called on was through planning and pragmatic investment. In order to keep moving forward businesses need to embrace changes and ruthlessly prepare by building operational flexibility and cost savings into their data storage infrastructure.

How to spend it? Be strategic and set strict criteria

A sensible first approach is to improve the bottom line by setting strict budgets, increase flexibility and directly link storage infrastructure spending to business activity. Forward thinking British organisations are adopting flexible pricing models from many vendors for their on-premises storage. Alongside budgeting, it is crucial to set the performance criteria for any new data storage solution and to run a comprehensive Proof of Concept (POC) evaluation. This will help you identify the storage products that will be the best fit for your organisation and with the best financial business fit. Large enterprise solutions, such as our InfiniBox, provide the performance, availability, scalability and ease of use you need-– and within the budget you set. Reduce your storage costs by driving both immediate and longer-term savings through greater automation, consolidation and operational efficiencies. In addition, move from expensive media-driven architecture to software-optimised architecture to improve ease of use and automation.

The only way is up: build in spare capacity for rapid business growth

Another element is to ensure immediate access and the capacity to scale up, essential for business growth and development. Delays in upgrades for greater capacity and new system installs – in the belief that this can be completed quickly on existing infrastructure – have brought significant problems.
The solution is simple: install systems and products with enough spare capacity to outlast any foreseeable delays you may face. However, this can mean a costly upfront outlay, especially in larger enterprise data centres hosting mission critical workloads on expensive media such as all-flash arrays.

Innovative solutions exist such as flexible consumption and economic models for businesses to gain competitive advantage, ease-of-use, at enormous petabyte scale. Ensure you choose an enterprise-class, on-premises storage infrastructure -- with the agility of the cloud -- guaranteeing availability, delivering future proofed architectures and offering free expert migration support. This option also supports plans to future-proof the business to deliver performance and reliability without committing to any investment ahead of time.

A no brainer: prepare for the worst

It's essential to protect every single element of your data from planned and unplanned events, including transient hardware failures, networking glitches or power outages and potential natural disasters. Ensure that your storage infrastructure meets availability and durability targets and understand the fundamental risks associated with recovering from server, networking and storage system failures.
Ranking these risks shows that recovering from a data loss caused by a storage system failure is almost always the most time-consuming, complex and failure-prone recovery. Successful storage solutions should deliver value every step of the way -- with near-zero downtime alongside triple redundancy on hardware components –- avoiding any impact on production systems

Consolidation: de-risk your storage workload

Thankfully, new product architectures and capabilities have made dense storage workload consolidation much more feasible. When approaching a storage technology or product refresh you are presented with the perfect time to properly evaluate storage workload consolidation opportunities. Consolidation across multiple platforms is escalating. It is the natural remedy for unwieldly storage systems by organising them onto a platform that can readily adapt to different workloads. For those IT organisations willing to embrace consolidation, the benefits are many: more efficient administration and management, increased storage utilisation and lower operating costs. My company is one that has cracked the code for building the largest-scale storage at the lowest possible TCO without any compromises between availability, performance, or scale -- there is nothing easier for tackling modern enterprise storage challenges.

Adapt, flex and stay focused on users

The current trend for end-user friendly flexible pricing models shortens acquisition cycles and simplifies vendor management by eliminating the need to negotiate customised deals. These consumption models alongside innovative, efficient data storage systems can cost-effectively satisfy and help businesses protect against further unforeseen events, in whatever form they take -- even if another global crisis hits us. In a post-pandemic world business can shrink budgets, yet not sacrifice enterprise-class performance, capacity, availability, or scalability in the process.

By making wise purchasing choices on your data storage products and infrastructure you do not need compromise going forward. Instead, you can protect the bottom line, focus on users and keep your business moving through the power of an intelligent data storage infrastructure.