Systems and Storage Practice Lead, Northdoor
In this blog, Tom explains how software-defined storage solutions can improve the performance and flexibility of data storage while reducing TCO. By adopting a software-defined storage solution, organisations can reduce IT management overheads and become more responsive to new demands from the business.
As businesses face up to the challenges of operating in the digital age, where success can depend on split-second decisions driven by accurate data, and where customers have increasing expectations around service delivery, keeping decision-support systems performing optimally is crucial.
New processors and architectures bring constant and often dramatic improvements in theoretical performance, but for many organisations, the real end-to-end performance gains from investments in new server hardware can be underwhelming, to say the least. The problem is usually not in the applications or the servers, but rather in the storage architecture, where disparate older technologies and the accumulated drag-factor of unplanned investments in capacity combine to create a significant bottleneck.
If you can’t get data into and out of your processors rapidly enough, much of your investment in server horsepower could be left idle – consuming money without returning value to the business.
In the typical enterprise storage infrastructure, performance is by no means the only challenge. Many organisations also struggle with the demands of day-to-day maintenance across a bewildering range of technologies, and with the difficulty of budgeting for ongoing capacity upgrades to systems from multiple vendors.
In the background, constant growth in both data sets and regulations pushes up both cost and complexity, while IT budgets continue to fall. All the same, many organisations remain on a “technology treadmill” of re-investing in refreshing different storage platforms every three to five years. These siloed environments persist, soaking up budget and making it harder to respond in an agile way to new business requirements.
What if there were a way to unite existing and future capacity into a single virtual environment shared seamlessly across all systems? Software-defined storage does just this, creating a layer of abstraction on top of storage devices and bringing rich, modern functionality such as data reduction and live data migration to generic storage hardware.
By deploying a software-defined storage solution, organisations can re-use existing storage capacity and create a single point of focus for future investments. All new capacity can be used by any connected system, maximising the return from future storage spend. From a single point of control, administrators can create sophisticated tiered environments that automatically migrate data between faster and slower storage as its business value changes over time.
Northdoor recommends IBM Spectrum Storage Suite as the best-in-class software-defined storage solution. IBM Spectrum provides a comprehensive suite of products for virtualised block storage, scale-out file storage, cloud object storage, backup and recovery, Copy Data Management and control – and can be deployed on-premises, in software or in the cloud.
Of course, we believe that great solutions depend on great design, deployment and support. As one of just a handful of IBM Business Partners in the UK to hold the prestigious “Expert Storage Solutions” status, Northdoor has the vendor credentials to help you transition to software-defined storage, for lower costs, greater flexibility and the performance to meet future challenges. We also have three decades of experience in helping blue-chip companies to manage, protect, and extract value from business data.