Efficient Storage, Effective Protection
Efficiencies in storage management are top of mind with many CIOs as storage management costs rise to over 60% of total storage budgets. Management costs are rising and operational complexity is increasing for several reasons, including:
- The digital deluge, and black-and-white need to store more data,
- The explosion in unstructured data coming from everywhere including recording devices, consumer applications, mobile appliances, and business applications. Challenges being faced by enterprises large and small,
- The "stack wars", and the growing debate over the role of the application in managing storage resources. For example, with infrastructure 2.0, will applications be sufficiently capable of dictating storage and data protection policies and managing compliance with said policies?
- The need to store data longer for business intelligence, data mining, and records management compliance.
- Development and testing, and the need to create efficient and secure copies of data for application design and development, testing, bug fixing, etc.
- The growing need for internal IT to prove it's value and provide improve service levels for accessibility and availability at lower costs.
For the data center manager, data protection effectiveness goes hand-in-hand with improved storage efficiency - reduced backup windows, tighter RTO’s, less complex and more automated disaster recovery, security, risk management, and compliance built into the storage platform and management interface. All of these are part of the storage management and optimization feature set, all being designed and delivered as a service to all major market tiers. At the end of the day, optimal storage efficiency must translate into an effective data protection strategy for the organization.
As a Service
With the advent of virtualization and Cloud computing, data protection and storage optimization delivered by IT as a service is an important part of information management strategy and infrastructure 2.0 (infrastructure including technologies, services, human capital, business and operational process), particularly as end-users look for options to operate less of their IT infrastructure and reduce or distribute risks and costs. For mid-size businesses and enterprises, data protection and storage optimization as a service offers risk, cost, and business value benefits, including
- Quicker response to application and business requests
- Forgone capital expenses,
- Outsourced complexity,
- Elastic capacity,
- Access on demand for a variety of use cases,
- Distributed risk management,
- Access to experts.
Data protection and storage optimization delivered as an IT service makes sense in many cases. It can alleviate the need for in-house infrastructure, ranging anywhere from tape-based backups and cycling to second-site disaster recovery infrastructure. For larger firms, these services can be used to reduce the data footprint of the enterprise by removing stale or peripheral data to a completely offsite service, freeing internal resources for effectively managing core business, day-to-day information.
What to look for
Here a few things to consider when investigating data protection and storage optimization as an IT service:
- Data tiering, and the on-ramps to move from less- to most-critical in terms of data classification,
- Secure, auditable, and compliance-enabled multi-tenant storage,
- Control and management in all stages of backup, storage, disaster protection and recovery, archive, and erasure,
- Policy-based management and compliance reporting,
- Data analytics and trend analysis.
- Jurisdictional firewalls, if needed
- Auditability - pick your control framework and ensure audit data is easily consumed
Action Item: End-users, particularly mid-size businesses, will benefit from knowing the pro's and con's of data protection and storage optimization as a service for their particular environment. As Cloud delivery models expand and storage requirements increase, the pricing and feature competition for these services will continue to produce attractive alternatives to on-premise platforms and expertise.