Relying on data to stay ahead of the competition used to be a nice-to-have; today, however, it’s a must-have. However, enterprises face a unique set of challenges in terms of securely storing, managing and analyzing the data they create. Enterprise storage consumption is growing at more than 50% year-over-year, with industries such as media, technology, manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare propelling these high data volumes.
Consider that one hour of 4K video would consume up to 7GB; a Boeing 787 generates 40TB per hour; an off-shore oil rig operation generates around 8TB per day; a self-driving car generates 1GB per second; GE gas turbines generate 500GB every day; and a modest genome sequencing BAM file can consume 80TB of data. In addition to technical challenges, enterprises need to adhere to strict legal, regulatory and compliance requirements when storing data, such as GDPR, HIPPA, etc.
Storage is also the cornerstone for many enterprise digital transformation trends, such as automation, predictive analytics, machine learning, mobility, blockchain and IoT. As such, next-generation storage services need to address enterprises’ many different requirements efficiently and cost-effectively. With technological advancements, a new breed of enterprise storage services has evolved that are faster, more efficient and secure.
Preparing for the Future
Organizations should begin investing now in next-generation storage models in order to benefit from the following key trends:
- Commercial viability. With reduced storage budgets and increased emphasis on the financial risk associated with new IT investments, businesses should consider storage services that can be availed on a consumption-based, predictable-pricing commercial model. These services enable enterprises with flexible deployment, hybrid cloud support, broad integration and a support ecosystem.
- Optimized and efficient data management. Generating and managing large volumes of data comes at a considerable cost. As such, businesses often face a tradeoff between price and performance, with traditional storage having different complex architectures for various performance tiers. Businesses should look for storage services that efficiently store data by employing compression and de-duplication, and that allow data to move automatically across different performance tiers.
- Support for smart products and services. Everything today is in the process of becoming “smart,” from devices, to cars, to our very homes. With the help of automation, the IoT, predictive analytics and machine learning, these devices can communicate with one another and provide an enhanced experience to the user. To function efficiently and make intelligent suggestions, these devices need ready access to historical data, which – in many enterprises – is still often archived on traditional tape-based systems. Data is also required to facilitate communication among the devices, and help them make decisions proactively. This capability is possible with the “always-on” architecture of next-generation storage services.
- Support for big data initiatives. Data comes from different sources with different types and formats, and it can be broadly categorized as structured (databases) and unstructured (videos). Traditional storage services are more suitable for structured data, and become unstable when dealing with large volumes of unstructured data. Businesses need to look for storage services that enable them to store data based on type, usage and volume.
Meeting Business Goals
We worked with a large UK-based energy & utilities client to provide a consumption-based storage service in partnership with Hitachi Vantara. The reference architecture, which is based on next-gen storage technology platforms, enables a hybrid cloud model. With predictable pricing (based on an Op-Ex model), transparent chargeback and use of flash arrays, the company was able to reduce its overall total cost of ownership and gain efficiencies from automated policy-driven data movement across storage tiers.
This storage as a service (STaaS) offering helped the company minimize complexity, manage growth efficiently and securely transition to a consumption-based storage model.
While data storage doesn’t score the headlines that other digital transformation topics do, the right storage services are crucial for any digital initiative to succeed. Data is at the heart of the future economy, and properly storing, securing and managing it is increasingly a key to success.