There are lots of different views on, and approaches to, data storage these days. Bearing in mind the vast selection of products and services available, it’s not surprising that the future of storage looks confusing at first glance. I can’t predict the future, but one thing’s for sure it won’t be a one-stop-shop. Finding the right solution will rely upon having an open mind and an approach centred on building an environment that will support multiple technologies – and manage data.
Current trends shaping the future
The main trends I see customers talking about are:
Trend #1: Traditional external storage arrays and the move by all major players to flash-based technologies and beyond
Trend #2: Hyper-Converged solutions, offering integrated systems comprised of servers, storage, network and management software
Trend #3: Server-based, internal storage, controlled by Software Defined Storage (SDS) software
Plus, let’s not forget the Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) offerings from Managed Service providers, and storage services from Public Cloud providers. As well as the things we don’t know about yet! The world above the storage layer is changing so fast, coupled with the fact that data is continually growing. Many organisations are struggling to find the best, most-cost effective solution that delivers now and can be flexible and scalable in the future.
Where to start – the data
The thing that often hinders an approach like this is the time and effort involved in getting to a point where decisions can be made about the correct platform for the data to reside on, in line with how the applications and users need to access the data. As well as considering data regulations, location, sensitivity, performance, security and availability.
I believe a consultative approach is the answer, starting with data analysis. Analysing your data means you can see how it can be cleansed, rationalised and categorised, so that decisions can be made about where to put it.
Let’s see how…
Take this example, based on 1TB of sample file data, this organisation’s ROT analysis shows that 44% of their data is either redundant, obsolete or trivial. Rather than investing in all tier 1 storage, a better approach would be to cleanse the data and then tier the storage locations. Or look at software to cleanse and manage the lifecycle of the data moving forward.