Ed Renwick, Senior Business Manager, Pulsant.
Managing data storage in today’s tough economic environment and highly competitive global marketplace is a major challenge for business and organisations of all sizes and in all industries. Common issues in traditional storage solutions include inadequate performance and scale, storage inefficiencies, high deployment and operating costs and complex management.
However, the one we hear most about, the one that has all of us shuddering with dread is: explosive data growth. One lingering question is if it will ever stop… the answer is no. The march of digital data growth continues at a stunning pace and in May 2010 IDC estimated that by 2020, the digital universe will have grown to 35 zettabytes. What is a zettabyte, you ask?
To put it into context, a terabyte is equal to 1024 gigabytes, a petabyte is equal to 1024 terabytes, an exabyte is equal to 1024 petabytes, and a zettabyte is equal to 1024 exabytes or 1 trillion gigabytes. No matter how long you’ve been in the storage industry, it’s still difficult to get your head round those kind of numbers and typically, on average, a business will not generate more than terabytes of data storage.
The expanding use of automated sensors, high resolution images and high performance computing applications across nearly all industries is driving much of this data growth. In many industries – such as health, retail, life sciences, media/entertainment and energy – the shift to digital content has passed the point of no return.
At the same time, companies are leveraging more collaboration, social networking and web-based business applications to boost productivity and improve customer support. Large databases are at the heart of many of these applications. Data mining and analysis of the databases for business intelligence in order to improve efficiencies and market opportunities is driving the need for storage intensive warehousing.
Finally, increased data retention, protection regulations and compliance requirements all contribute to the data growth problem. The traditional method for dealing with these data increases has been to increase capacity, increase capacity and increase capacity; to larger disk drives, larger disk systems and multiple tiers of storage. While this approach has been adequate (up until recently) for storing large amounts of data, it does not help organisations improve performance, eliminate waste, control costs or reduce management complexity.
There are, however, other challenges around storage, including; performance bottlenecks, growing costs, increased complexity and doing more with less. Storage should be boring; it should just work and should take little administration once in place. However, considering that for a business looking at procuring storage and trying to use it efficiently, there are over 200 different appliances/boxes to choose from today and that’s just from the leading vendors.
How do you choose what you need? How do you know what primary and back up you need? How do you scale if you get your growth rates wrong? What features do you need to improve its performance? These are all valid questions and all very important ones to consider when you are addressing data storage.
The answer is simple: Look at a business partner who only has your company’s best interests at heart; one that has the ability to work through with you, the minefield of considerations; one that gives you the ability to scale without compromising; allows you to pay as you grow; and one that doesn’t lock you in to expensive support contracts.
This is where Pulsant has chosen to be different; we have built a platform that is multi-vendor and allows complete choice of disk type, performance criteria and allows our customers to take advantage of the very best technologies without the price tags. We also keep them up to date which means our customers don’t need to worry about whether it’s best to ‘buy a new one’ or take more support every three years, as is normally the case.
In short, there are many storage challenges, as well as IT issues that manifest as a result of those problems. Pulsant can help you cut through all of that confusion and misinformation to give you a very simple and meaningful way of managing your data storage.