Even for the savviest storage administrators, solving today’s data management challenges never seems to get any easier. Global data growth continues at an eye-watering pace, with the International Data Corporation predicting 61% annual growth over the next five years. Factor in shrinking budgets, sophisticated security threats, the pros and cons of cloud adoption and new storage media, and life has never been trickier.
In this age of uncertainty, how can you minimise operational risk and ensure you have the capacity to cope with shifting demand? And how you can manage enterprise data without piling up extra hardware, sending costs and complexity sky-high? Although the pressure is mounting, innovative thinking and agile, hybrid storage models offer an effective remedy to tomorrow’s data headaches.
As the pace of change increases, traditional capacity planning and procurement methods offer less and less value. Gathering data into spreadsheets to inform guesstimates and quarterly forecasts has always had its disadvantages, but looks even less reliable as social media, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and IoT streams push data growth to unprecedented levels. Only one pattern seems clear when planning requirements today: expect the unexpected.
Businesses often encounter two major capacity headaches. On the one hand, you can purchase additional headroom as insurance in case demand suddenly rises. But while this strategy limits your exposure to risk, it fails the all-important cost-efficiency test as capacity resources often sit idle and unused for long periods.
In other cases, application workloads can radically shift, overwhelming your current storage and forcing you into rushed purchases of more hardware. In effect, you’re back to square one of the cycle, trying to somehow predict the future and facing the prospect of significant disruption to operational continuity during the deployment of the new systems.
To avoid these pitfalls, you need a procurement strategy aligned with your unique requirements, rather than the priorities of your vendor. You need a flexible approach that addresses your capacity, security, and budgetary concerns—and doesn’t condemn you to an endless cycle of additional purchases.
That’s precisely what IBM Storage Utility Offering provides. It gives you the data security and control of on-premises storage combined with the convenience of flexible cloud-style consumption pricing—the best of both worlds. You can scale your storage landscape as application workloads grow and shrink, and pay only for the capacity that you have actually used.
Northdoor will help to map your requirements for the next three to five years, and deploy an IBM storage platform of your choice with sufficient capacity to handle those projections. However, you only need to commit to use a baseline level, which normally amounts to around 30 to 50% of the total capacity. Beyond this threshold, you pay a per-TB usage fee.
If your requirements decline and you don’t need the variable capacity, you only pay for the baseline amount. And you can adjust this threshold if you find you overcommitted at the start. Conversely, if workloads rise, extra capacity is instantly available: you don’t have to worry about deployment downtime. And at the end of the contract, the platform is yours—irrespective of how much of the variable capacity you have used.
Immediately, you no longer need worry about painful procurement cycles whenever you hit the end of your current capacity. There are none of the weighty upfront costs normally incurred when purchasing physical arrays. In addition, you gain a much more agile model that allows you to scale capacity up and down.
This flexibility makes the IBM Storage Utility Offering well-suited for many use cases. For example, you can rapidly provision and scale back a new storage environment for DevOps teams in line with development cycles, or if you need to establish a backup target during disaster recovery testing.
Equally, if you’re looking to retire, archive, or move workloads to the cloud, you can set up initial on-premises storage to run the application, migrate or retire at your chosen pace, all while reducing your usage of variable capacity. This cuts both ways, as many companies are moving in the opposite direction and shifting workloads from cloud back onto physical storage due to cost and management problems. In this case, IBM Storage Utility Offering allows you to start with baseline capacity and scale up only when you are ready to bring applications back.
To adopt a smarter storage policy, speak to Northdoor’s IBM Storage experts today. We will help you to develop a business case, identify the right IBM Storage platform for your needs, and plan your capacity baseline.
For more details, visit our IBM Storage Utility Page