Agile Storage Infrastructure – Ready for What’s Coming Next?
by Shachar Fienblit, CTO of Kaminario
As the world changes and business demands intensify, serious enterprise businesses have to adopt more agile processes in order to make it through the storm of change.
Regulatory and economic conditions have essentially forced enterprise IT to undergo a major transformation. Here’s the problem, though: it isn’t natural for enterprise IT to adapt quickly to new conditions.
Many enterprise IT departments just aren’t agile enough to cope with the information-driven, competitive and on-demand global marketplace of today. Storage solutions are a particular weakness for enterprise IT teams.
Recent research estimates that the industry produces 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. 90 per cent of the world’s data today was created within the last two years alone. According to another study, data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009.
Not only must modern storage solutions be able to handle enormous streams of data, but they should deliver super-responsive performance that customers wherever they are, and do all of this in a cost-effective and scalable manner.
Whether due to high expectations from the user or service level agreements (SLAs), storage systems must be agile, flexible and ready to respond to unpredictable outcomes without impacting storage-related operation and capital expenditure.
So, as they rethink their storage infrastructure to be more agile, what should enterprise IT teams be considering?
Here are some pointers to bear in mind when designing an agile storage infrastructure:
- Performing consistently through a range of unpredictable workloads: Enterprises are currently adhering to the same system mixture of online processing, virtual workloads and analytics. Performance SLAs may not be met, and it’s just not possible to anticipate and prepare the performance requirements with ever-shifting workloads. Consistent performance is achievable, however, by using flash technology in an all-flash storage array that is adaptive to mixed workloads.
- Scaling capacity and storage performance separately: Overprovisioning capacity and storage compute to meet SLAs makes only for a temporary fix that ties to a major cost premium. The only storage architecture that lets users meet performance and storage needs is one that can scale-up and scale-out whenever necessary. This way, we won’t be overprovisioning excess computer capacity or compute resources.
- Storage that adapts to unreliable conditions: Agile infrastructure delivers the most flexibility for modifying the storage infrastructure to future requirements. We’re no longer able to predict infrastructure needs for upcoming years. A software-as-a-service (SaaS) company now needs an agile-enough storage infrastructure for it to boost capacity and computing power and provide for users’ demands. No more will we have to rely on specific array models that offer limited scalability because of infrastructure that doesn’t meet unpredictable future requirements.
- Deploying new hardware with software-defined architecture: As flash media both improves and becomes cheaper (dropping around 25 to 30 per cent each year), businesses must think seriously about the rewards of technology upgrades. Software defined storage architectures today must support storage expansion at the same time as they make use of new flash and controllers’ technologies. They should enable users to combine legacy technologies with new ones based on their preferences. What does this achieve? Customers will be able to use storage infrastructure that is ready for today’s requirements and prepared also for tomorrow’s hardware developments.
- Putting an end to “future forklift” upgrades: It’s now too difficult, unsafe and resource-draining to upgrade storage systems every few years with a forklift upgrade. Rather than spending energy and wasting time on long-winded migration tasks, IT teams should be attempting to bring business value from the data they keep. Contemporary storage architectures should enable us to include and/or dismiss new or old hardware. Additionally, this should be simple to accomplish with minimal disruption to the IT infrastructure.
The IT challenges emerging now are driving change towards better planning and building of data centres and storage infrastructure.
The requirements of competitive businesses today have created an ideal moment of transition towards agile storage architecture.
Taking this step forward makes us better prepared not only for today’s needs, but for tomorrow’s challenges too.