As data volumes continue to increase exponentially the value of data is more critical to business than ever before. Yet IT budgets are constantly being squeezed and since enterprise storage makes up a significant proportion of IT costs, it is often one of the first targets of budget cuts.
The scenario is a familiar one for CIOs, as they need to do more with less and ensure that data is protected and highly available while spending less money on storing it.
Data Storage providers are now faced with the conundrum of catering to exploding data volumes and providing businesses with the necessary performance for analytics and intelligence whilst driving down storage costs. Fortunately, there is a solution.
Shrinking budgets, growing needs
Storage performance is an important requirement for analysing data and leveraging new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. However, this performance traditionally comes at a higher financial cost if the wrong data storage solution is implemented. Moreover, South Africa’s uncertain climate and depressed economy mean that budgets are being heavily scrutinised.
With storage forming a significant part of IT spend, businesses are having to retain their existing storage assets for longer periods in order to contain costs. CIOs, therefore, need to take the time to review and assess their overall data storage strategy, comparing data storage solutions and choose one that will not just suffice today, but will also futureproof their business.
Here, the CIO needs to separate the wheat from the chaff, having a clear view of traditional data storage solutions versus modern, innovative and more intelligent storage solutions that will ultimately lower costs now and in the future without compromising on reliability, performance and availability.
For South African organisations, this also means choosing a data storage solution that supports compliance with regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) act and provides a view of where data resides and who has access to it.
The conventional approach increases complexity
One common strategy for cost reduction, that CIOs are approached with, is to make use of tiered storage. Here, less critical data is moved into lower cost and lower performance storage. However, this is not without challenges. It firstly introduces additional complexity into the storage environment, as data needs to be moved back and forth. Secondly, it creates siloes which make advanced analytics challenging and can actually increase cost if not managed correctly.
The trade-off between performance, scalability, availability and cost often leaves businesses unable to extract value from their data, making it a near-impossible goal. This puts them at a significant disadvantage in today’s data economy.
An ‘impossible’ problem needs an intelligent solution
A new approach and intelligently engineered software is required to tackle this challenge that has traditionally been considered a hardware problem.
By changing one’s perspective, it is possible to approach data storage from a completely new angle. Intelligent software can be installed on top of industry-standard hardware, delivering the highest possible levels of performance, at a multi-petabyte scale, with the highest availability – all at an incredibly disruptive price point. This also enables organisations to consolidate from multiple siloes into a single technology, with significant savings in capital expenditure as well as simplified and less costly maintenance and management.
Previously, these features have been absent from traditional data storage solutions and until now, the only way to guarantee high-performance was to spend large sums of money on expensive storage tiers. With data growing at a rapid rate and 90% of the world’s data having been created in the last two years alone, traditional data storage solutions are simply not financially viable given the cost involved, nor is it the most optimal approach.
Ultimately data storage needs to become a discussion about business, and not just about hardware. CIOs should look for a storage provider that can deliver an intelligent solution with the flexibility to meet the business needs today and in the future without any vendor lock-in or limitations on scale. This will go far to solve the challenge of exploding data and shrinking IT budgets.
By Hayden Sadler
Edited by Jenna Cook
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