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Finding a path through the hype: Seven initial steps for your software-defined storage journey

Philip Davis, vice president & general manager, Storage, HP Asia-Pacific and Japan | June 16, 2015
In the right situation, and within the right company, SDS can present that coveted solution, reducing costs while increasing agility and flexibility.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

It's undeniable that businesses are facing a massive data explosion -- in fact, IDC projects that the amount of data on our planet will grow from 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 to 44 zettabytes by 2020.[1] Companies have an unprecedented opportunity to harness this information to create profitable business opportunities. Yet the unrelenting pressure of storing and managing all this data is becoming overwhelming for IT departments across Asia.

As your business generates more and more data, the time spent on storage maintenance can quickly consume an increasing proportion of your IT budget. Coupled with the huge pressure to contain costs and do more with less, you may find yourself looking to invest in a "miracle" storage solution to alleviate these burdens. Software-defined storage (SDS) is often hyped up as that miracle cure.

The hype around SDS is such that recent research from IT analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) revealed whether or not storage decision makers even know what SDS is, they still believe it has the potential to help them address some of their most pressing business challenges.[2]

Simply put, SDS enables storage infrastructure to be managed and automated by intelligent software, rather than by the storage hardware itself. SDS turns mixed and disconnected physical disk drives into a single storage pool, helping your business best utilize existing resources. It offers unparalleled efficiency and flexibility, and can be simply managed via open standards. In fact, Gartner believes that by 2020, between 70% and 80% of unstructured data will be held on lower-cost storage managed by SDS environments.[3] This clearly signifies that the allure of using SDS to reduce costs and lessen the demands on IT administrators is resonating with businesses.

Why you need to see through that hype

However, it's critical you understand that SDS is not the instant miracle many portray it to be. Making a bad decision and investing wrongly in SDS can cost your business and waste valuable time.

If you invest in a SDS solution that doesn't work together with your existing storage architecture, you may find yourself with yet another isolated storage silo and an inability to migrate data in or out. This means all that rich information your business is generating -- the data that could help your business tap into a wealth of information and become more profitable -- is a lot harder to get to than you thought.

So how do you know if SDS is right for you?

Don't be fooled into thinking that traditional storage infrastructures are obsolete, and that the only way into the future is through ripping and replacing. Any new system needs to be able to fit seamlessly into your company's existing hardware and architecture.


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