Software-defined computing

New Year’s data resolutions

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Data volumes are up and budgets are not. 2015 couldn’t have been an easy year to manage a data center. To have a more prosperous 2016, I propose you make (and keep) a few New Year’s resolutions.

Lose weight
Most organizations have more data than they actively use. Shed some terabytes by either actively deleting or intelligently archiving. By setting up an active archive with a tool like IBM Cleversafe or IBM Spectrum Archive, you can trim the overall cost of storage, reduce the overhead on your primary storage and reliably store the data you need.

Get fit
Not the annual first week of January at the gym, but a sustained approach that will help you be healthier and reduce stress for the long haul. Specifically, focus on your applications’ performance.

With software-defined infrastructure, you can build platforms optimized for a workload or manage applications to maximize results and utilization.

Optimize your storage by adding flash tier as a shared or dedicated tier, using local cache or adding a lower-performing tier to offload.

Increase resource utilization and achieve faster results with intelligent orchestration by using IBM Platform Computing to manage big data applications, streaming analytics, workflows, virtual machines and containers with equal ease.

For the heavy hitter who wants to make the most impact, a hyperconverged strategy can help you to manage storage and applications together. To read more about IBM’s approach, check out Louise Westoby’s blog post.

Do less busy work
Backup, system checks, capacity reporting and data movement are typical storage tasks that take up too much of your day. In 2016, address the tedious, small things that keep you from getting more important work and major projects done.

Improve your health monitoring by adding trending and pattern analysis, which is available in the latest releases of IBM Spectrum Control. If your backups are slow or moving data into archives takes up time, look into the integration of scale-out storage with your backup vendor. The ability to write objects directly to Cleversafe or Spectrum Scale helps reduce the complexity of archiving and the dependency that many have on hard-coded file paths for growing storage.

Tackling these long-standing, slightly annoying projects early will benefit you throughout 2016.

Learn a new skill
If you carve out some time for your personal development now, you’ll be better prepared to contribute to future projects. Try out new innovations in storage or application frameworks.

Spark, which promises faster results on streaming data, is a great example. But also think out of the big data box and try in-place analytics using HDFS natively in Spectrum Scale.

Also check out the new security features included in IBM Storage. Native encryption and authorization integration are low-overhead, easy-to-deploy options that you can use today.

There isn’t anything stopping you from getting started. Spectrum and Platform Computing products are offered through an online lab, demo or virtual machine that you can download and run. Product documentation, videos and webinars are available online, and peer groups such as host active mailing lists and regular meetings.

Don’t wait. You can start by reading File & Object Storage for Dummies. It’s an easy introduction to the new protocols.

Achieve a better work-life balance
Data will grow, new applications will be built and the cost of cloud will continue to drop in 2016. Start planning for this now by looking at your deployment options.

It is not a bargain to buy more systems with fewer capabilities, especially when you factor in the time it takes to manage them. Your proof of concept can even remain in the cloud while you build and test production using the same technologies in the cloud and on-premises. This “start smart” strategy of including infrastructure and application planning from the beginning is critical to a stress-free 2016.

Assume that data and compute will span more than one location and deployment. The economics of pay-as-you-grow cloud storage should be available to you with software-defined storage options.

Those large, growing silos of data probably look daunting. Start off the New Year with a handful of achievable resolutions that will have a positive impact. Establishing good habits early in the year might even help you achieve that other New Year’s resolution: get recognition at work, so I can advance my career.

Portfolio Manager, Spectrum Scale

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