Software-Driven Storage – The Key to Unlocking Valuable Data

By Tim Loake, VP, Infrastructure Solutions Group UK, Dell Technologies.

  • 1 year ago Posted in

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, said, “Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.” Today, data has become more diverse than ever anticipated – and is being created, processed, and stored everywhere. In this new data era, the combination of massive amounts of information has given businesses of all sizes the opportunity to become disruptive digital powerhouses.

A great deal of the focus is often on disruptive technologies or new exciting categories, but underlying this and making it all possible are hardware and data management solutions such as storage and servers. In fact, in the UK alone, the data centre market was valued at USD 7.41 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 8.55 billion by 2027. In data storage – which touches every IT-driven business –innovation is accelerating. However, most enterprises struggle with data’s explosive growth and velocity. With that in mind, the real question is. What enterprise data storage practices would truly help unlock the real value of data capital?

Firstly, organisations need to refresh their storage hardware regularly. This allows them to keep up with increased data demands by eliminating ageing infrastructure more susceptible to failures causing outages and downtime. Modern storage infrastructure can also reduce the data silos and the struggle to manage messy data. It also adds advanced data protection features that help ensure the on-premises data remains safe and secure during an outage. Data encryption adds an additional layer of protection to this, improving data security and mitigating the potential for data loss.

Second, one thing is clear as we look at technology requirements today and into 2023. Storage will continue to be architected and consumed as Software-Defined, and the lines between storage and compute will continue to blur. With the rise of next-generation applications driven by trends such as big data and the Internet of Things, organisations are turning to software-defined storage solutions to achieve greater agility, resilience, scalability, and cost-efficiency. This approach to storage architecture uses a software layer to provision, orchestrate and manage physical data storage capacity on industry-standard servers. By decoupling storage management software from hardware, software-defined solutions enable hardware and software to be acquired independently rather than locking organisations into proprietary platforms. Increasingly we will also see it become possible to run the same software in the cloud and on premises, allowing seamless management, data mobility, and enterprise-class storage capabilities not typically available in the public cloud.

This software-defined approach combines industry-standard hardware components and protocols with software to pool and manage resources within modern data centres. In addition, for organisations that require the flexibility of rapidly scaling storage and compute independently of each other or need to consolidate multiple high-performance or general workloads, software-defined infrastructure (SDI) becomes a viable alternative to traditional SANs and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) for specific workloads.

But when selecting a software-defined platform, some critical aspects must be considered. The platform must offer:

(a) Unparalleled flexibility and scale: that enables you to choose the environment that best meets the application requirements and consolidate mixed-application workloads on shared infrastructure.

(b) Simplicity and automation: that boosts IT operations and lifecycle management while mitigating the impact of failures and eliminating common storage management overheads.

(c) Extreme performance and enterprise availability: that delivers leading-edge performance for enterprise applications, including high-performance databases, big data analytics, and AI / ML workloads.

(d) A rich solutions ecosystem: that is optimised and validated for a broad set of enterprise workloads that seamlessly deliver cloud automation and container management tools to enhance IT agility further.

Thanks to software-defined architecture, disruptive and costly data migrations are becoming a thing of the past. For organisations, that means better business execution, increased revenue opportunities and more productive teams. This is important because, in today’s data era, having an agile, flexible foundation for IT infrastructure is more critical than ever before. And with advanced storage infrastructure technology, organisations can harness the potential of software and embrace change while delivering consistent, predictable IT outcomes that drive business forward.

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