Unite and conquer your storage silos

If you’re a storage admin, it might seem like there’s a new flash storage system being pitched at your inbox every week. Maybe a few times a week, in fact. Perhaps you’re also investigating the cloud, and whether your enterprise would want to go with a hybrid, private or public cloud implementation. Chances are you already have a lot of storage in your infrastructure from past purchases, and when you add it all up, you could be sitting on quite a diverse collection of resources—and those resources may be significantly underutilized today.

The diversity of storage types presents many options, which creates a real challenge for admins—but only because all those different resources could not be seamlessly connected until now. With storage solutions that deliver ultra-fast performance, such as all-flash arrays, some that save with low cost, cloud capacity for cold (inactive) data, and numerous other shared storage resources, most enterprise IT teams have the right resources to serve a wide variety of different data demands. The challenge is knowing what data needs which resource, then continually aligning data to the right resource as its needs change over time.

+ Also on Network World: 4 ways to contain IT storage creep +

For example, data related to a weekend sale is likely hot throughout the event and through the next week when it undergoes business review or planning for the next sales promotion. But as the next sale approaches, that data cools, and if it is stored on high-value flash, it begins to take up space needed for the next round of promotions. That data will still be needed for sales and corporate reporting, and it has value for long-term big data analysis. IT can’t delete it, but they also would prefer not to waste money keeping it on expensive flash for years to come.

This is where storage is ripe for some innovation. If we can separate the logical view of data from where it is actually stored, it becomes possible to abstract and connect different types of storage across a global namespace. Advanced data management capabilities can automatically place data on the right storage at the right time to meet and maintain service-level objectives. This finally makes efficient use of the capabilities inherent in your storage investments, making sure critical data gets high performance and availability, and colder data gets archived automatically. This has been called “the Holy Grail” of data management, but it has taken several new breakthroughs to finally make it possible.

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