Data storage has long been an anchor of IT value to the business. It has evolved through tape-based and floppy drive media through to the speed of ever more cost-efficient hard drives, the spinning disks that still form the backbone of enterprise storage solutions today. But new technologies — and new demands on the enterprise data infrastructure — are changing the way that organizations are dealing with their data storage requirements.
Basic data storage architecture hasn’t changed in the last two decades. Data is stored in tiers according to the need for accessibility. Data that is required for processing in enterprise applications is stored online, usually on speedily spinning hard disks attached directly to the data centre. Data which is required occasionally, for example for batch-processing jobs, is stored near-line, on cheaper media that’s still accessible but requires some intervention to access. Archival data resides offline on a cheaper volume media (usually tape) that is generally stored in such a way that technicians must physically mount the media to a reader. Much of enterprise backup and business continuity strategy revolves around the recording and recovery of data on such media. One advantage is that it can be copied and held offsite, so the business continuity framework still exists in the event of data loss from the primary media.
But pressures from three directions are changing the business equation for data storage architecture.
- The volume, velocity, and variety of data being collected is accelerating daily. Data collected from telemetry, sensors, mobile devices, social media — the list goes on — supplement the structured transactional data that systems were originally designed to deal with.
- New applications, largely from the Big Data analytics camp, are placing new demands on the delivery of data for near-real-time processing in order to deliver customers the right offer, in the right place, at the right time, or to optimize to the second supply chain logistics, or to predict the necessity of mechanical maintenance, or … think of a business application; there’s probably a way that real-time analytics can provide efficiency and effectiveness, and drive business value.
- New flash-based technologies are becoming increasingly affordable, allowing companies to create large arrays of lightning-fast memory with low power draw and smaller footprint. This creates a new tier of data storage that is in virtually seamless connection with the application. Because of the increase in affordability, arrays can be created on a scale that allows applications like in-memory analytics, wherein answers to business questions can be retrieved in real time.
Download Driving Business Value with Flash-Optimized Dell Storage Solutions, a white paper from information technology research firm IDC, to read how flash storage solutions can:
- Achieve return on investment (ROI) benefits on the scale of 500-plus per cent, with a payback timeline of just over six months;
- Cut IT infrastructure costs by a third;
- Help provide predictable planning;
- Vastly reduce the impact of unplanned downtime; and
- Increase storage system performance by a third, with accompanying benefits in business operations productivity.