Smart storage for cloud IT – Delivering the data advantage
Matt Kixmoeller, VP Products, Pure Storage

Smart storage for cloud IT – Delivering the data advantage

In the increasingly digital economy, data is key. Independent of whether your infrastructure is public cloud, private cloud, SaaS, or most likely some hybrid of all three – data is key. Independent of whether you are doing business online, delivering better patient care, sequencing the next discovery, delivering your software via SaaS, or evolving your business analytics to real time – data is key. Data is the strategic core that enables competitiveness and differentiation in tomorrow’s economy; data is where the potential lies. Yet we are just at the beginning of leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics to take data insights beyond even human prediction. Differentiation lies in having the most data, analysing it the fastest, discovering new insights, and ultimately delivering new products and experiences not possible without it.

Yet in most data centers today, data is also the key bottleneck. Data (on disk) is the last mechanical gate in the compute chain. Data is where compromises are ultimately made: how much to store, how much can be analysed, how long to wait for answers – compromises no one wants to (or should have to) make.

Unfortunately, today’s IT landscape is dominated by vendors who are treating data as a compromise. Legacy storage vendors are retrofitting flash to decades-old systems, and perpetuating the status quo vs. embracing the true potential of flash. IT behemoths are focusing on becoming “vertically integrated” to sell customers one of everything vs. being best-of-breed at anything. Public cloud vendors are making it cheap to store data but expensive to use it. And hyper-converged vendors are focusing on reducing cost by making storage just an integrated commodity function vs. a platform for strategic advantage. These vendors are all pivoting to low cost/low differentiation data strategies, vs. investing in a platform to drive data advantage.

So what should smart storage for cloud IT look like?

Effortless – Storage that just works

Effortless starts with reliability, with storage that is always on, always fast, and always secure. Imagine getting 6 nines or better availability – inclusive of maintenance and upgrades! Effortless is a lot better than just easy. No more tuning, storage pools, caching, tiering, performance troubleshooting, planned downtime, forklift upgrades and more. It means storage that manages itself and only involves you when absolutely needed, and that just plugs & plays with your environment. It’s a storage array experience that’s never farther away than the mobile app in your pocket. 

Effortless is also fully cloud-connected, with management, analytics, support, and protection delivered as a service, where big-data driven insights from a global installed base are continuously improving your storage. Imagine storage that automatically snaps and backs up your data, whether to a lower-cost flash tier or to a cloud service – giving you application consistent recovery anytime, anywhere, at the click of a button.

Efficient – Storage that does more

Efficiency is about collapsing your storage tiers and consolidating all your data, whether block or file, structured or unstructured, into efficient all-flash storage that takes 10X less space, power, and cooling. Imagine a data centre storage footprint so small you could cost-effectively locate it in another hosted facility, perhaps even co-located with public cloud compute services to get a best-of-both worlds cloud!

Efficient also means that all your storage data services are zero-compromise. Data reduction, encryption, QoS, snapshots, replication and so on – you get all the benefits, all the time, with no trade-offs. Efficient is fully automatable and extensible, so you can fully integrate your storage into an on-demand catalog of cloud IT services, enabling your developers to spin-up VMs and databases instantly at will. Imagine on-prem IT with agility equal to or better than any public cloud – all under your own control.

Evergreen – Storage that gets better with age

And finally, Evergreen Storage is about applying a cloud-like approach to storage that lives on premise, enabling you to simply subscribe to a storage experience that keeps getting better with age. Evergreen means you can frequently harness rapid software, hardware, and flash innovation – annually or even faster – with no need to wait for your 4 to 5 year refresh to get the latest and greatest. Just like SaaS, Evergreen is an all-inclusive subscription model purpose-built for cloud IT — just stay on active maintenance and support. Imagine being able to consume storage with your choice of CAPEX or OPEX, with flex up and down just like a cloud, and with pricing that always reflects the typically 50% lower 6-year ownership costs that come as a result of the non-disruptive, no-rebuy model.

The storage industry is still only about 15% into the all-flash transition but the potential of data is so huge, so integral to the future of the digital economy, that the market deserves pure-play storage vendors that focus on delivering simpler, cloud-enabled storage solutions that are more efficient, effortless and evergreen. Only then will enterprises be truly able to reap the data advantage – Big data, Fast data, Data analytics, Data science and machine learning, Data orchestration between clouds, and data lifecycle management.

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