By Ron Mente, Director of Cloud and Emerging Technologies at Micro Strategies, Inc.
The role of data in helping business’ achieve their strategic goals is no longer under question. A global survey by Frost & Sullivan indicates that 54% of CEOs see data and analytics as critical to driving innovation and growth.
With data being used to drive business decisions in more ways than ever before, it is imperative that companies treat that data as a strategic asset. With data being so important to business success, having a plan that solves for the performance, reliability, utilization and growth of that data needs to be viewed strategically. This includes the environments where the data will reside.
The Need for Infrastructure to support the ever-increasing amounts of information being stored, businesses need to have the proper infrastructure in place. Finding the right mix of platforms that fits your business requirements is key. Many solutions turn that requirement on its head, instead wanting you to change your business to meet theirtooling. The right storage solution can meet your needs while increasing value to the business.
When IT within an organization considers their infrastructure, it should be more than a simple line item called ‘storage’ in the budget.
Instead, the architecture of the storage environment – and what they hope for it to accomplish – should align with the goals of the business. Questions to ask include: How will the business deal with significant data growth? Where is the right place for the data – the cloud, on premise, or both? Does all the data the company will use reside in its own systems or will this data be mixed in with data from other sources? Who needs to access the data – and how will they access it?
Since one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to a company’s storage needs, a personalized hybrid strategy often makes the most sense. This type of approach offers flexibility, scalability, performance and security. Often, an initial implementation begins with the freshest data, with the highest performance requirements being maintained on premise in traditional in-house systems while cooler data is tiered off to the cloud. In a well-built environment, the business can then manage storage across multiple systems and deployment models while having the ability to move or share data and workload among environments.
Businesses are increasingly leveraging vast amounts of data to fuel insight, decision making and action. It is clear that a hybrid data storage strategy can help them do this by supporting virtually limitless growth and targeted performance while allowing for the global management, security and governance of data of any kind, anywhere—in the cloud and on premise. This type of approach turns data storage into a competitive advantage, helping drive the business’ ability to derive value from their data.
The Cloud Question: Shifting from ‘what can it save in my budget’ to ‘what can it do for my business’
Reducing IT expenses and shifting from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure model was once the primary consideration for moving to cloud, but it is quickly becoming a secondary conversation. These benefits are still important, but now businesses are focusing on how cloud can be used to improve efficiencies, enable faster decision making and ultimately help drive and improve business outcomes.
Cloud is changing the way in which businesses use data, but the role of that data remains the same. Without the ability to draw the conclusions from the growing volumes of information, the ability to make decisions more rapidly could fall short of meeting the business’ goals. Massive growth due to the increased capture of data for analytics is further complicating matters, as much of that growth is fueled by unstructured data, such as video, social media, photos and multimedia documents. Companies are quickly realizing their legacy storage architecture is ill-equipped to support the increased demands of existing and new business workloads.
IBM’s Cloud Object Storage (COS), an alternative to traditional storage architectures, is designed to support both the management and insight required by the businesses to capitalize on the massive data explosion brought on by the digital era. COS is flexible, cost-effective and scalable cloud storage for unstructured data. COS makes it possible to store immense amounts of data – simply and cost-effectively – while allowing IT to retrieve data faster, resulting in greater efficiencies. It is commonly used for data archiving and backup, web and mobile applications and as scalable persistent storage for analytics.