Agility and Storage: Does your business understand the link?

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya Country Head at SUSE

SDS is poised to disrupt the traditional IT infrastructure model with the great promise of a simpler, innovative model that can cut costs and drive agility

The IT department’s ability to be faster, agile, and responsive has always been a subject of discussion in the enterprise space.

IT had to eternally find ways to provide the high levels of performance their users expect, in a cost-effective and responsive manner. The internal and external demands on IT to be more agile and faster are now on the rise in the new era of IT. And, it is probably one of the biggest challenges for IT teams—to move at lightning speed and adapt to the business requirements in near real-time.

While businesses across the world strive hard to increase their IT clock speed, what they often forget is how agility is strongly linked to their storage decisions. One wrong choice in storage can stall all your efforts to be agile.

Interestingly, many organizations are reviewing their approach and strategy for data storage over the next 12 months to tackle this issue. Clearly, there is a great market momentum in the direction of software-defined storage (SDS). SDS is poised to disrupt the traditional IT infrastructure model with the great promise of a simpler, innovative model that can cut costs and drive agility.

Stamping out Complexity

One look at the volumes of data generated on a daily basis—2.5 quintillion bytes, and we can be sure how critical a challenge it is to manage and store this data. IT leaders are witnessing how this is starting to impact cost, simplicity, and agility to respond to business requirements.

A recent survey of over 1200 IT decision makers across 11 countries, conducted by the independent research agency Loudhouse, reveals that 65 percent of Indian businesses struggle to make the link between storage and agility.

Part of the reason agility is so hard to achieve is complexity in the existing storage infrastructures. In fact, businesses across the world are struggling with the complexity of short term storage capacity add-ons. Such ‘patchwork’ infrastructures are now prevalent among Indian enterprises, leading to governance and management difficulties. Current storage solutions have several more shortcomings in terms of increased cost, complexity, and performance concerns, and pose difficulties in supporting innovation and agility efforts.

Complexity is thus thwarting agility in more than one ways, and eventually puts a spoke in a CIO’s wheel as he aspires to be to a strategic leader to the business.

With IoT and fragmentation of devices becoming a reality, the need of the hour is a flexible, agile storage that can keep up with the changing demands of the data center. It’s evident that the pressures of Big Data cannot be dealt by simply purchasing new storage systems to meet the growing capacity requirements.

The Potential of SDS

The Loudhouse survey reveals some very positive trend towards SDS, with as much as 96 percent of Indian organizations surveyed expressing their interest in the technology. Out of this, 89 percent of businesses think that SDS has a compelling business case.

Integration of analytics and SDS holds great promise in solving several issues around unstructured data. Businesses are expecting improved system performance, facilitation of web, mobile and big data apps, along with reduced support cost. Most importantly, SDS is a critical step in promoting innovation and agility as opposed to the many ‘quick fix’ storage architectures.

What is even more interesting is the growing appetite for open source SDS solutions in the market. Over 90 percent of the organizations surveyed in India reported that they would consider an open source approach to SDS, says the Loudhouse report. The SDS market is gradually drifting towards open source, as the freedom of choice and cost advantages are too compelling to ignore.

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