The ‘Dirty Dozen’ of Enterprise IT - 12 key infrastructure issues to resolve

By Eric Herzog, CMO at Infinidat.

When supermarket shopping, the ‘dirty dozen’ foods, fresh produce considered to have the highest levels of pesticide residue, are now well known by consumers. Less widely publicised in a B2B context are the ‘dirty dozen of enterprise IT.’ These are the issues that tarnish IT infrastructure, “contaminating” current enterprise-grade implementations and exposing the dangers and risks associated with them. They are the challenges, gaps, misconceptions, and problems that keep CIOs, storage administrators, and other IT leaders up at night, worried about what they don’t know:

Enterprise IT’s ‘Dirty Dozen’

· Insufficient level of cyber resilience

· Disconnect between cybersecurity and enterprise storage

· Storage proliferation

· Lack of utilising flexible consumption models

· High total cost of ownership

· Slow data recovery after a cyberattack

· Slow application and workload performance

· Reliance on an outdated architecture

· Lag in making storage more green

· Misunderstanding about hybrid cloud

· Lack of autonomous automation

· Underperforming storage vendor IT support

Together, these issues illustrate the reality of challenges facing enterprises and service providers, whether the C-suite is aware of it yet or not. Even in isolation, any one of these factors can taint an otherwise high-performing IT operation, allowing inertia to set in. Other problems take attention away from these ongoing matters that need attention, to stay in check. Sound strategies are needed to solve each of these ‘dirty dozen’ problems, as this article outlines.

1. Insufficient level of cyber resilience

Cyber resilience is one of the most important elements of an enterprise’s IT strategy today, but too many enterprises have inadequate levels of it to be sufficiently safeguarded against cyberattacks, especially ransomware and malware. Characteristics of a strong cyber resilience solution include: immutable snapshots, air gapping, a fenced forensic environment, and rapid recovery time (minutes, not hours or days). A cyber resilience solution is deemed effective when it provides guaranteed availability and a fully scaled data restoration for business continuity.

2. Disconnect between cybersecurity and enterprise storage

IT leaders, CIOs, and CISOs need to think of storage as part of their overall enterprise cybersecurity strategy. An end-to-end approach needs to be taken to stay ahead of cybersecurity threats. This entails evaluating the relationship between cybersecurity, storage, and cyber resilience. Primary storage and secondary storage need to be protected. The average number of days to identify and contain a data breach, according to security analysts, is 287 days. The stakes continue to rise amid daunting threats. And storage cannot be regarded as a separate issue to security.

3. Storage proliferation

An organisation knows it has experienced storage proliferation when it has too many storage arrays. It may have amassed 10, 12, 15, 20, 40 or more storage arrays, implemented over time as the need for data storage capacity increased. With the explosion of data in recent years, this is no surprise, but this high number of storage units inevitably causes inefficiency, excessive costs, overly complex data centers, poor storage management, negative environmental impact, and waste. Storage consolidation is the strategy to employ to deal with this issue and in turn, ease management, create cost savings and ensure efficiency and sustainability are aligned with green IT goals.

4. Lack of utilising flexible consumption models

An enterprise may be accustomed to consuming storage in a specific way, whether a private cloud or a public cloud, a capital expense or an operational expense. It becomes an “either/or,” locking themselves in. However, flexible consumption models have arisen to give customers more options. An enterprise can now do a mix of CAPEX and OPEX, reaping the financial benefits of only using the storage capacity that is needed. Or it can get high-end storage features and functionality with a pay-as-you-go approach in a cloud-like consumption model. It is advisable to explore the different flexible consumption models available and how they might suit your organisation.

5. High total cost of ownership

IT costs are soaring, and IT leaders continue to scramble to find ways to lower costs. Storage is one of those areas that the IT department can look at for substantial cost savings without sacrificing availability, reliability, and performance. Taking a more strategic approach to your storage infrastructure will make a difference to the bottom line. Enterprises can shift to automated and autonomous storage platforms for primary storage and modern data protection, as well as consolidate arrays many storage arrays down to a few Infinidat platforms. Shifting to storage-as-a-service is also an opportunity to lower costs, while increasing capabilities.

6. Slow data recovery after a cyberattack

The world has seen, all too often, when a ransomware attack hits a company and takes the data ransom or corrupts it in some way. Recovering the data is typically too slow, but it has been accepted as “that’s the way it is.” However, near-instantaneous recovery from a cyberattack is now possible, with data capable of being recovered in one minute or less from immutable snapshots, providing an organisation with a trusted and accurate recovery of its data.

7. Slow application and workload performance

IT leaders naturally hear complaints from executives and employees when applications are running slowly. The breakneck pace of business today exposes performance issues in the data infrastructure. Not only are servers important to real-world application performance, but storage is critical. For highly transactional block workloads, therefore you must focus your efforts on application latency. Latency is the number one determinant for real-world transactional performance.

8. Reliance on an outdated architecture

If your business is relying on a dual-redundancy storage architecture, then you’re using an outdated architecture that does not deliver the level of reliability that is needed in today’s digitised world. The best practice in storage has already moved on to the triple-redundancy architecture, even though incumbents are reluctant to acknowledge it because they want to keep their installed base on a

dual-mode architecture. But if you want high reliability and durability, triple redundancy is the way to go for enterprises and service providers, delivering 100% availability.

9. Lag in making storage more green

Too many storage arrays mean more physical objects to have to recycle. This inefficiency is the opposite of a green initiative that aims to reduce waste, recycle more efficiently and lessen the impact on the environment. Too many storage arrays also use up more energy, more space, and are higher in costs. However, storage consolidation aligns with going green – less energy, less space, less waste, less to recycle, while reducing costs.

10. Misunderstanding about hybrid cloud

Too many IT leaders assume that their company needs to go completely “public cloud” and cannot have any private cloud because they think private cloud is no longer relevant – which is untrue. Forward-thinking CIOs and IT decision-makers are realising the value of a hybrid cloud approach that combines public cloud and private cloud. It does not need to be “all or nothing at all.” The private cloud for storage has evolved to have cloud-like characteristics, namely in terms of deployment, management, and consumption. Mixing public and private cloud environments gives an enterprise more control, more flexibility, more security and more cost-effectiveness.

11. Lack of autonomous automation

Without autonomous automation, storage and the enterprise infrastructure overall are more complex and more costly. Automation alone is no longer enough. Incorporating the autonomous aspect to automation takes it to the next level, paving the way for data center simplification and AIOps. Cleaning up the complexity with this functionality that enables a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ approach, whereby storage essentially becomes self-learning and you can substantially reduce your IT manpower devoted to your storage estate.

12. Underperforming storage vendor IT support

Most storage vendors cannot deliver a ‘white glove’ service. They don’t value their customers enough to assign a technical advisor right from the start of the relationship at no additional cost. They bump their customers off to a first-line of customer support that doesn't have the same knowledge and experience as an L3. Enterprises and service providers should look for a white glove service because, when hands-on support is needed, you want to make sure your supplier will be there for you. Even better, with a white glove service, your vendor will be proactive and fix the problem before you are even impacted by it.

Author

By Daniela Karakaci, European Field Marketing Manager, Panasonic Connect Europe.
By Martin Bodley, Director & Global Head of Bose Work at Bose Professional.
By Jon Fielding, managing director EMEA of Apricorn.
By Tom Christensen, Global Technology Advisor & Executive Analyst, Hitachi Vantara.
Digitalisation World spoke to Jan Hauser, CEO of app and web software development specialists, Applifting, about the management structures that could be showing the future of a company’s anatomy.
By Aman Khan: Global Product Manager focused on IT Management at Vertiv.