No Such Thing as an Information Recession

The so-called recovery may be flaccid and the markets may be erratic, but one thing is certain: there is no recession when it comes to information and the need to store it and protect it. In a recent briefing IBM noted that storage demand is doubling every 18 months. Structured information is growing 32% each year while unstructured data is growing at 63% annually.

IT analyst Greg Schulz makes exactly this point in his blog here. Check out his discussion of ways to address the inexorable growth of demand for storage.

IT managers have known this for years. While their IT budgets have been constrained or reduced the demand for more data storage and data protection has not slowed at all. To the contrary, many organizations are storing more data and different types of data than they were just a few years ago. Now organizations, for instance, are capturing and storing click stream data, RFID data, social media posts and feeds, sensor and surveillance data, and more. One marketer found itself collecting and analyzing data from over 500 campaigns involving 3.2 million keywords. And that’s during what still feels like a recession.

 At the same time it seems like every storage vendor, large and small—IBM, EMC, HP, Dell, Nexsan, Oracle/Sun, Hitachi—have been announcing new products that promise to streamline and simplify the storage challenges facing IT. Make no mistake, given the amount of spending directed at information storage and data protection this should become a top fiduciary and compliance concern of every CIO.

To look at just a few vendors, in July IBM announced XIV Gen 3, a scalable storage product that includes a host of advanced features at no additional costs. In fact, the company claims it has reduced the total cost of ownership by 60% when compared to its biggest competitor, EMC. As important, IBM made it fully autonomic, meaning it can pretty much run itself, allowing for even more cost savings. Your staff can handle it with minimal training and effort.

The trick to XIV is a grid design that connects a set of modules consisting of a powerful processor, memory, and storage—in effect, a complete computer in itself. Multiple modules work together to provide seamless scalable storage. This design delivers predictable, sustained high performance storage with little or no intervention on the part of your staff. Plus, it brings a slew of high reliability and availability capabilities.

For example, adding an XIV module increases storage capacity along with a matching CPU and RAM to achieve near linear scalability and performance. Automatic rebalancing ensures load balance is maintained regardless of adding, deleting, or resizing volumes after new disk/module additions and even after a system component failure or during rebuild. And all without requiring human intervention.

Meanwhile, EMC announced earlier this year new capabilities for its Symmetrix VMAX storage systems, its top-of-the-line product. The new capabilities increase performance and simplify the way organizations can handle petabytes of information (1 petabyte = 1,000 terabytes). It also includes automated storage tiering, which organizes the storage around the performance and cost characteristics of different types of storage and moves the data automatically to the correct tier. All your staff has to do is categorize the data at the outset. The tiering capabilities can deliver up to 40% more application performance at a 40% lower cost while requiring 87% fewer disks and 75% less power.

HP too has been consistently bringing out advanced storage products. It acquired 3PAR and integrated its thin storage capabilities into the HP Converged Infrastructure. This will help companies take advantage of features like automated storage tiering and thin storage offerings that eliminate storage over-provisioning, a costly but common practice. This can help companies seeking to consolidate storage hardware yet still respond to explosive data growth. HP also introduced a guarantee that it would reduce capacity requirements by 50% or more through thin provisioning, and it introduced new federated storage software that enables companies to transparently move application workloads between disk systems in virtualized and cloud computing environments.

As noted above, almost every competitive storage vendor is refreshing its storage products to deliver simplified automated operation, storage virtualization, tiered storage, thin provisioning, and more.  If your information continues to grow despite the recession or limp recovery it is time to check if your storage has kept pace. The latest capabilities are available, pound for pound, at less less than you paid last time. And given the high value of the information asset, this will be a worthwhile investment.

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