Death, taxes and your storage infrastructure

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There is a time-tested saying that applies to both life and your storage infrastructure. There are only two certainties: Death and taxes. As humans, we are always looking for ways to delay the first and reduce the second.

With storage infrastructure, we could conclude that the same two fates exist, though occurring at a more frequent rate. Many clients I have worked with recycle their storage infrastructure every three to five years. The “tax” for doing so is not only the purchase cost of replacing the device but the time, employee effort and period of business outage to fully retire that old piece of equipment and start using the new one.

On the subject of outage, if you are an online business, how much downtime is acceptable? Speaking of one outage from 2013, a Fortune contributor points out that “Offline, the company cannot gain new customers or monetize existing ones. Its public image is temporarily dented; its profits, permanently.”

In today’s fast-paced world, organizations cannot afford downtime in their storage infrastructure. Consider the following:

  • Data is now producing data.
  • More devices are now producing data.
  • People expect 24/7 access to services and services need data to exist.
  • Devices are getting faster, but not at the same rate that data is growing.
  • Revenue is linked to presence, which is linked to the availability of data.

Given these realities, it has become very difficult for companies to retire old storage infrastructure while maintaining access to data, especially with little effort. But does it have to be so hard?

Imagine if:

  • After the three to five years, you could plug in the new device, transparently move data from the old device onto it, and when it is finished unplug the old device
  • While this is all occurring (adding, moving and removing), users were not aware because they could continue to access their data or service 24/7
  • As the infrastructure gets full, and you need to expand it, you could do so by just plugging in a new device
  • The infrastructure is getting old and there is new technology with new features that you’d like to exploit — and you could easily
  • You could decide where you want all this simplicity to occur — at the block layer, the file layer or both

If your business can’t do any of this today, it may be easier than you think to start implementing it. Begin in stages. Take some small steps now so you can be prepared for the future, when your requirements might be even more demanding. For example, swap out just one of your silos of data onto IBM’s single enterprise file device. It will grow and accommodate your other silos when you are ready.  Or do the same thing at a block layer.

To simplify the transition even further, what if you only had one type of file device or one type of block device that was infinitely scalable? Your data could live there forever at the most optimal cost. With all data on the same enterprise file or block device, you can then exploit all of it’s features:

  • Automatic placement on the right media to meet the performance requirements of the underlying application
  • Unrestricted movement to move the data to another tier when it’s performance requirements change
  • Dynamic expansion when capacity becomes low
  • Global access to data using a consistent access method
  • Simplified management of the data infrastructure

Well, that type of storage solution is available today through IBM Software Defined Storage. A software defined storage solution moves all the capabilities into the software so that the data can live forever and be accessed forever, as well as be stored on the right device at the right stage of its life (when it is of value to the business). The software does all the boring, laborious tasks that a human had to do in the past.

How great would it be to be a master of your domain, and to have software that could do all the work for you? With software defined storage, IBM can help make that happen for your organization. Contact me today to learn more. It’s an exciting capability that I would really enjoy sharing with you.

In the meantime, learn more about IBM Spectrum Storage here.

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