The KSS principle: Keep storage simple(r): Page 2 of 2

One + One + One = Five

The KSS principle: Keep storage simple(r): Page 2 of 2According to the aforementioned Forrester study, organisations see value in buying storage, other data centre technologies and services from one vendor. A total of 95% of IT leaders and storage admins indicated that they see value in buying storage from the same vendor from which they buy server, networking, system-management or IT services.
 
Respondents indicated that a deeper relationship with a smaller number of vendors can build trust, provide technology synergies that ease management and streamline support relationships, making it easier to manage the big picture.
 
This brings us to the final major storage trend — convergence — which actually comes full circle, with automation and simplicity. A critical component of IT convergence is the desire to simplify operations and amplify IT productivity (i.e., automation). Gartner predicts that 30% of data centres will be converged within the next two to three years.
 
Storage lines are blurring with server-side cache and, to a greater extent, with the convergence of IT components — servers, storage, software and networking — into a singularly managed system.
 
One example is the blade form factor with the advent of blade arrays. By converging compute, switching and storage resources into a dense, self-contained form factor, blade arrays offer a range of capabilities, from basic disk arrays to highly automated, virtualised systems that can be customised to address specific applications and environments.
 
The driving force behind converged infrastructures is the opportunity to increase efficiency and agility in operations, applications and service management. Benefits include reduced cost of running applications, faster infrastructure deployments, simplicity and speed of management, and improved time-to-value for application and cloud deployments.
 
It’s important to bear in mind that bundled solutions are not necessarily comprehensive ones, however. Although convergence and pre-integration — the grouping and packaging of servers, storage, networking and management — can help ensure infrastructure performance, reliability and quality, not all solutions are created or managed equally.
 
Blade arrays, a relatively new market entrant that puts SANs (storage area networks) in a blade form factor next to blade servers in the same blade chassis, also can help organisations reduce operating costs through more-efficient use of switching resources, simplified cabling and consolidated management with chassis backplanes.
 
Convergence through enterprise-class storage blade arrays can offer the improved manageability and productivity typically associated with advanced external storage. Organisations can drive new levels of easier IT manageability into blade infrastructures by deploying a converged infrastructure such as this.
 
Innovation makes a difference
 
Although Forrester reported that quantification of the precise total cost of purchasing and managing storage remains limited, interest has grown in managing soft costs such as organisational agility, application performance and business continuity, in addition to upfront acquisition costs.
 
Respondents indicated a willingness to try new solutions, including software features, licensing models and innovative vendors, if they can deliver better long-term results, and they see innovative storage-management approaches as a way to improve the bottom line.
 
IT’s appetite for change is huge: 85% of storage admins and IT leaders said they would consider buying a storage solution that costs more than a competitive solution but saves staff considerable work time; and 94% would like to see easier-to-use and highly automated storage features in their next storage-solution purchase.
 
Software licensing is one area where innovation can play a role. Forrester reported that 82% of IT leaders believe that a perpetual license structure for storage software, which allows users to transfer software from old equipment to new equipment and receive updates at no additional charge, could reduce their storage total cost of ownership.
 
This belief shows strong interest in this model and recognition that the traditional model can lead to high costs.
 
These aren’t the only trends — or considerations — that will affect your storage environments and plans, but we believe they are the key drivers and should keep you busy for the foreseeable future.
 
But whatever you do, don’t forget about KSS: keeping storage simple(r) really does make (dollars and) sense.
 
KT Ong is the general manager of the Commercial Business at Dell Sales Malaysia.
 
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