How to choose the right enterprise storage for you

Here is why businesses should have an all-flash arrays (AFA) strategy on the agenda to address the growing needs of customers in an increasingly data-driven world. 

Niladri Saha Nov 23rd 2018 A-A+
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Organizations today are racing towards digital transformation and in turn are harnessing emerging technologies. 

To keep up with the pace of their business, they are turning to technologies such as Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality etc. However, a key component of their datacentres is proving to be a hindrance - enterprise storage. 

Due to the huge overload of data, companies transition to the modern, increasingly software-defined datacentre and they are reaping the benefits of virtualized workloads and simplified management.

Moreover, All-Flash storage solutions have been at the core of the mobility revolution. Due to the power of All-Flash storage, mobile transformation took place i.e. mobile phones transformed into sleek and powerful devices. 

“As businesses consider how the benefits of flash apply differently to primary and secondary workloads, it can be challenging to sort out which AFAs are best suited for their own needs.”

The database of the digital customer base is ever growing and mobile payments and deposits has led to millions of transactions daily, which will result in widespread adoption of All-Flash solutions in the coming years.

It is now necessary for organizations to look to all-flash arrays (AFA) and understand its importance. The global AFA market is the most dynamic external storage segment by far and is forecast by IDC to grow at a 26.2 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2020 to hit USD 9.39 billion. However, what AFA capabilities should enterprises look out for? 

As AFAs grow in popularity with enterprises looking to benefit from its tremendous performance headroom to scale, it’s important to understand that there exists a notable pricing premium which AFAs command over any hybrid offering. 

In order to narrow down the premiums associated with AFAs, vendors have introduced enterprise data services to reduce the cost variance versus hybrid arrays. Capabilities of these services include: 

•    Reduces the physical SSD capacity required 
•    Improves the agility of the AFAs by delivering near-instantaneous snapshots
•    Delivers ease of management   
•    Reduces storage silos (which has been proliferating within datacentre) 

Vendors deliver these benefits through a combination of technologies, namely: compression, thin-provisioning, deduplication and snapshots. 

The architecture design is paramount to making all these data services work without limitations. Apart from traditional scale-up SAN architecture, vendors have already introduced scale-out architecture to better supplement the performance leap which AFAs delivers.

Lastly, it’s not just about data services, but how the architecture is able to support all the data services consistently. It will be futile to deliver data services but deliver spiky response times that will not be able to meet business outcomes. 

As businesses consider how the benefits of flash apply differently to primary and secondary workloads, it can be challenging to sort out which AFAs are best suited for their own needs. For instance, if the datacentre is not ready for a storage refresh the total cost of migration may be too much for a business to justify. Beyond hard costs, there are implicit costs to consider like migration, learning, and integration expenses – adding to the total cost of an AFA strategy.

Regardless, highly scalable, truly enterprise-class all-flash platforms are here and are being widely used and considered as a general-purpose platform for mixed primary workload consolidation. When legacy enterprise storage platforms come up for technology refresh, businesses should have an AFA strategy on the agenda to address the growing needs of customers in an increasingly data-driven world. 

To address organisational and CEO challenges, CIOs and IT, need to look into new technology capabilities and solutions to optimise, redefine and/or transform current processes and operating models. 

To successfully manage these business transitions in the new digital age, CIOs require a deep understanding of business imperatives as well as the ability to enable business agility and accelerate business performance.  All-Flash storage solutions will serve as the bedrock of a resource and data management platform that is essential for knowledge sharing, planning and collaboration vital to any enterprise.

Niladri Saha is the Director - Modern Data Center at Dell EMC, India.

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).