A massive increase in the digitisation of data, coupled with legislative and behavioural changes has caused an explosion in the amount of data that is generated. Businesses are adapting the way they use, store and manipulate data to take advantage of potential insights that it can provide, allowing them to make more informed decisions. This intelligent decision making is becoming an integral part of what gives an organisation its competitive edge. To generate insights that can be derived from big data, a rich set of storage features are needed. This demand for more intelligent storage and increased capacity, combined with widespread budget strain, means that IT decision makers have to start considering innovative new ways of approaching data storage.
Investing in hardware is usually the first port of call, and businesses have traditionally approached storage upgrades by replacing entire infrastructures with fresh, new hardware – traditionally known as the ‘rip and replace’ or ‘forklift upgrade’ method and typically dictated by the incompatible design of next generation storage solutions roughly every three years. However, in recent years, IT managers have found that this approach is becoming increasingly unsustainable as IT budgets remain tight and upgrades are required more frequently. So how can IT managers balance the need for regular upgrades with financial constraints imposed from above?
IT managers need to maximise every penny spent on their storage, meaning that any investments need to provide the longevity and endurance needed to last into the future. As a result, IT managers have started to look at spending in the long term by looking for cost-effective scalable storage solutions that can grow in-line with the growth of data and the performance that the business is experiencing. As a business’ customer base consistently expands, its data assets grow and consequently its storage structure needs to be able to efficiently scale to host additional data.
In light of this, IT managers are investing in storage solutions that provide scalable, modular hardware platforms and innovative licensing approaches. For example, strategies which offer the option to simply add arrays as and when they are needed, sometimes known as ‘on demand’ solutions, are becoming increasingly sought after. Moreover, vendors seeking to better address the cost efficiency of storage are increasingly offering licensing models that offer firmware upgrades at no additional cost as part of their existing software licences and as new features are introduced to the market. This helps to alleviate the financial burden on keeping up with innovation while meeting long term demands, eliminating the need for regular infrastructure overhauls, and reducing unnecessary capital expenditure. To put it simply, there are no longer any hidden licensing costs.
These approaches mean that IT decision makers essentially benefit from a long-term, scalable infrastructure while simultaneously spreading the total cost of ownership over a much longer period of time when compared to a traditional three-year refresh cycle. Not only does this make sound financial sense, but it also matches the way data grows in the modern datacentre.
In the current economic climate, it is becoming increasingly challenging for IT departments to convince CIOs to part with capital for forklift IT upgrades. Unfortunately, for those with older architectures, sometimes these large scale refreshes are unavoidable, and yet replacing legacy solutions with an infrastructure that can be built upon and scaled according to demand will help businesses stop these problems from re-occurring in five years’ time.
With any kind of capital outlay facing increasing scrutiny at the C-level, IT decision makers need to be able to show that the total cost of ownership of storage can spread out over a decade rather than in smaller incremental upgrades. By presenting a more cost-effective solution to C-level executives, IT managers are more likely to secure the budget required to address the business’ longer term storage needs. Furthermore, by taking this proactive approach, IT managers should be able to work closer with C-level executives to help them understand where IT budget should be spent going forwards.