Wednesday, 29th January 2020

Making “fast, good and affordable” a reality for entreprise IT

Why modern companies should ditch data silos and adopt unified software platforms By Sazzala Reddy - CTO & Co-Founder - Datrium.

Today almost all organisations are under pressure to adapt the way they manage their data to keep up with the IT demands of the ‘instant economy’ created by companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google. End-users today expect their services instantly, and this has forced enterprises to offer user-defined, on-demand services, which often come with a set of challenges, such as slow speed and cost, irrespective of their core offerings. In this instant economy, every enterprise is having to act like a software company which will result in more and more data being created, and a growing need for storage and management. This is exactly why companies need strong infrastructure that is fast and frictionless to manage that data and allow them to add, build and deliver new services rapidly.

For a start, enterprises require a litany of functions to manage the data lifecycle. At a minimum, this will include high-performance primary storage, encryption, backup, disaster recovery, data mobility, and consistent compliance policies. But end-users often find themselves buying several products to meet all of their data needs and unfortunately this causes silos which land-lock the data. The silos cause friction and prevent organisations from freely moving their data to the cloud or, in certain circumstances, back on-prem. This is inefficient, costly and undesirable.

Frustratingly, in this respect, the cloud is no different. The same essential data functions are required, and data is siloed in the same way. In addition, data distributed across multiple clouds results in yet more silos with no global organising principle making data mobility across clouds another notable, not to mention expensive, challenging.

As time goes on, end-users want the flexibility to move their data from one cloud to another without constraints. The anxiety caused by the possibility of cloud vendor lock-in is fast becoming unacceptable to users. However, true flexibility requires a uniform experience and mobility across multiple clouds which is contingent on both a consistent virtualisation plane and a consistent data plane. A virtualisation plane has orchestration software, such as load balancing or hypervisor, that manages how applications run in a compute farm. Conversely, a data plane provides all the related data storage needs for applications, like primary storage, backup, data recovery, mobility and encryption. Without a consistent virtualisation plane and a consistent data plane it is impossible to achieve real mobility across multiple clouds.

For the time being, de facto solutions for ensuring consistency of the virtualisation plane across multiple clouds have been found in VMware and open-source container system Kubernetes. However, maintaining a consistent data plane remains a significant challenge.

Enterprise IT is being forced to become highly agile and efficient despite disparate, legacy systems and limited budgets. Providing instant, on-demand products involves running, securing, protecting and often recovering applications and data at unprecedented speeds while users are also looking for consistency, flexibility, scalability, reliability and cost efficiency.

So is ‘fast, good and affordable’ just a dream?

Increasingly, autonomous data services are liberating IT teams from the daily, repetitive and routine tasks which slow their progress. As a result of this newfound freedom, technological innovation is being allowed to accelerate at speed.

The success of new technology is measured not only by the benefits it can deliver but also by the challenges it solves. The first step to overcoming the challenges mentioned above is to run, protect, secure and recover from a single platform rather than working with separate silos. A unified software platform, which works across on-prem and multiple clouds, is uniquely positioned to meet the end-users’ primary storage requirements while also providing the performance, encryption, backup, disaster recovery, data mobility and universal data management functions now essential to all modern businesses. Converging services allows companies to ‘drag and drop’ entire data sets from one cloud to another, with all services and policies moving with the data which is then subject to a global organising principle.

Within this model, the adoption of autonomous data services is crucial to data lifecycle management as it provides a uniform, frictionless experience across on-prem and multiple clouds, partly by eliminating repetitive, routine tasks. Embracing autonomous data services will be essential to companies hoping to implement the digital transformations necessary to meet the needs of modern customers.

With the increased adoption of multicloud, Kubernetes and autonomous data services, and with virtualisation becoming practically ubiquitous, future data services will make instant data access a reality, irrespective of application location across the board. Vastly improved data mobility and consistent data management, across on-prem and multiple clouds, will also be achievable. Simply put, these innovations, in combination with the adoption of a single software platform which brings together all the necessary functions with autonomous data services, could make the dream a reality.

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