How SMAC is changing the Indian Enterprise Storage market

SMAC

SMAC is making companies, big and small, more data heavy. As data volumes grow, companies are looking to integrate their isolated storage platforms. The business is also demanding optimisation of the usage of the currrent storage. Express Computer takes a look at the major trends shaping the Indian storage market

The continuing trend of Social, Mobile Analytics, Cloud, (SMAC) is weighing-in on the enterprise storage platforms. As a consequence the market for storage has seen a surge. IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Enterprise Storage Tracker says that India’s external storage market saw a jump in year-on-year growth (in vendor revenue) and stood at $73.9 mn, up by 16 percent, in the third quarter of 2015. Further, IDC India forecasts the external enterprise storage systems market will grow in single digit in terms of CAGR for 2014-2019.

According to a recent Frost & Sullivan study, the APAC region is among the fastest growing markets for enterprise data storage in the world. The market for enterprise storage is expected to expand at a 3.2% CAGR between 2014-2018 with revenues nearing over $41 bn mark from $36.4 bn in 2014.

Impact of SMAC on enterprise storage
A CIO would do well in assessing the impact SMAC will have on the enterprise storage portfolio. “The emergence of SMAC and especially cloud has had and will continue to have a significant impact for the businesses that have adopted it. Many organizations are making massive investments in developing applications and technologies to meet the requirements emerging from SMAC in order to improve the overall business outcome”, says Neeraj Matiyani, Director, Storage Solutions, Dell India.

The demand for storage has grown substantially from what it was a few years ago, and the manner of storing data has also changed in a way that the traditional ways of storing and managing data is no longer sufficient for enterprises. “Social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and IoT can be expected to drive more than 26% of the total enterprise software market revenue,” forecasts Mehul Doshi, Country Head of Technology, Server, Storage CCD & Datacenter Solutions, Fujitsu India.

Going forward, as more and more data is generated in the data centre, the traditional enterprise storage architecture (SAN and NAS) is no longer enough to accommodate the data overload. More and more data is generated and being read out of the end users’ laptops, mobile devices or even on the cloud and web pages. So, in that regard, the traditional storage companies are reinventing their storage architectures to assimilate this storage. “In the last eighteen months, there has been a lot of initiatives by traditional companies. We have also seen a lot of new companies emerge in this market segment,” says Santhosh Rao, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner. The traditional storage vendors are trying to integrate their products with the public cloud provider vendors, who realise that in the absence of it, they will lose customers because the customer wants to look at the cloud storage seriously, which is an alternative option to store data in order to reduce costs. “Given that, enterprises are looking at a hybrid cloud deployment, thereby moving in-house architecture to the public cloud. So, that is one thing that is worked upon by a lot of vendors.”

Another development is the emergence of new vendors providing security solutions for the data being accessed by the mobility devices. “They realise that a lot of activity is happening on the edge (data accessed on mobility devices), which is essentially going unprotected and the enterprises need to hold that data and control it because the traditional back up mechanisms are inefficient or insufficient,” says Gartner

How DR is driving demand for storage
Apart from SMAC, stricter regulation in the form of Disaster Recovery (DR) norms is also driving the demand for storage. Interestingly, due to various natural calamities that have hit in recent times, many organizations have realised the importance of having a DR mechanism installed so that businesses can continue to run without any disruption after recovering from the natural calamity. “With regulations getting stricter, we are also seeing higher adoption of DR in co-operative banks as well. If we consider the SMB / SME segment, there will be higher adoption of DR by the cloud service providers to ensure that there is absolutely no data loss of their customers,” says Dell’s Matiyani.

Enterprises are now implementing bi-model IT practices to develop traditional IT infrastructure as well as to adopt and develop cloud-based models. “Disaster Recovery is at the forefront of this investment in new skill sets, in new object-storage solutions, and in releasing greater potential to increase time-to-recovery and to maintain round the clock global business availability,” says KB Ng, Product Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, HGST.

While SMAC vehemently continues to push the boundaries for the storage stack, the CIOs before investing in new storage infrastructure want to get the best out of their resident storage infrastructure.

Optimisation and productivity enhancement remain the key business priorities across organisations. Adoption of technologies like software defined storage and virtualization are getting increased acceptance to achieve these priorities, says the IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Enterprise Storage Tracker.

Optimising the usage of the current storage system
Most of the CIOs are running initiatives wherein it involves modernising the IT. Either adopting newer technologies like SMAC  or newer ways of delivering the technology. “The focus also involves maximising RoI, thereby not spending more but optimise on the same budget without any percentage growth in the overall budget. The IT spend is not growing as fast as it used to. Some of them are not cutting it but keeping it flat,” says Nilesh Patel, VP, Product Management and Marketing, Sphere 3D Corp (Tandberg Data). The objective now is to do more with less.
SDS and storage virtualization helps pool physical storage from multiple devices into a single, centrally managed system. “More and more enterprises are considering employing software-defined storage (SDS) as it helps reduce overall storage costs for enterprises, and improves automated management of storage infrastructure,” says Doshi.

The SDS concept itself is just gaining traction and mindshare in the enterprise but “there hasn’t been a lot of deployments in India because the vendor landscape is also very immature, “ says Rao.

Dell has partnered with other vendors like Microsoft and Vmware to design solutions to fulfill multiple storage related requirements from a single solution. “At Dell, apart from having our own solutions which can meet the business requirements of our customers, we are also focused on leveraging co-engineered solutions which have been developed with players such as Microsoft and VMware. These co-engineered solutions are designed to meet a variety of requirements the customer might have – which in some cases might not be fulfilled with a single vendor only solution,” informs Matiyani.

Many enterprise databases require shared storage access. Good examples of this are single instance Oracle Databases and Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC). RAC uses Oracle’s Automatic Storage Management (ASM) as the volume manager for the database. ASM uses disk groups to store data files and enables flexible server-based mirroring options.

Businesses should come out of siloed storage imbroglio
The  traditional problem of siloed storage infrastructure still persists in many organisations, big and small. “The problem existing today and is acknowledged but nothing much has been done about this. Storage continues to be operated in silos by even large enterprises,” observes Rao from Gartner.

The IT decision makers have a conservative approach towards the storage infrastructure. They fear that creation of a shared service pool and a shared storage infrastructure will hinder their ability to serve a particular application on-demand because they do not have the skill sets or the automation tools to do that. “The perception is, rather than suffer on-application performance by integrating the siloed storage platforms, they are better off creating such silos and putting more and more storage to a specific application or a business unit. However, it’s further complicating their architecture. “The IT managers don’t look at storage related purchase decisions as an aggregated solution,” opines Rao.

The vendors have a role to play here and provide effective mechanisms on licensing. As Rao observes, “The problem is in the instance of purchasing a large storage system which will act as a platform on which the siloed systems will be made to work as one unit, where the plan is to migrate the different storage platforms in phases as each of these systems are in a different time of the contract period with the vendor.”

abhishek.raval@expressindia.com