The development of multi-cloud environments, cloud native applications, DevOps, containers and microservices have become central to enterprise IT investment. But with these advances comes more complexity, silos and data fragmentation for IT professionals to address.
On the one hand, businesses are under huge pressure to leverage these technologies to remain competitive. But on the other, the momentum that has fuelled their adoption is severely testing the abilities, experience and resources of IT teams to not only fully realise their benefits, but to cope with significant storage and data management challenges.
In particular, multi-cloud environments and cloud native applications that address specific use cases have led to a proliferation of disparate silos across data storage and infrastructure. This data fragmentation, spread across mainframes, bare metal, IOT, edge, VM’s and containerised applications, is creating untenable levels of storage management complexity. The potential of 5G to accelerate the pace of change and innovation across a range of IT disciplines is likely to further exacerbate the issue.
At the same time, the volume and value of data continues to increase, and the ability to protect and mitigate cybersecurity and data protection risks increases the pressure on every organisation to set high standards for readiness, backup and recovery.
This all sits against the backdrop of evolving and complex compliance obligations, meaning many organisations are in increasingly uncharted territory. As they look to navigate these difficulties across a variety of environments, their ability to allocate experience, expertise and resources is stymied by an industry-wide skills shortage.
A Future Shaped by Software-Defined Storage
Enter Software-Defined Storage (SDS) – an approach specifically designed to support the diversity, virtualisation and self-service that define the modern enterprise data centre, and one which is reshaping the storage industry. It’s impact is so significant that, according to Gartner, by 2024 fully half of global storage capacity will be deployed as SDS.
By abstracting, or de-coupling, software from the underlying hardware, SDS enables enterprises to unify storage management and services across diverse systems across a hybrid environment. Based on hyperscale approaches pioneered by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google, SDS allows an automated, agile and cost-effective infrastructure to keep pace with the exponential growth of data.
That’s why Commvault’s acquisition of SDS innovator Hedvig last year is significant for those organisations looking to meet the challenges of evolving multi-cloud data management. In particular, the fragmentation caused by data silos limits visibility and adds friction in a broad range of use cases, from data analytics to regulatory compliance to backup and recovery. An SDS platform – such as that now offered by Commvault – that supports multiple storage protocols, including block, file, and object, lets users consolidate these silos in a common infrastructure. Complemented with APIs to enable orchestration and automation, this can simplify storage management while improving overall cost efficiency.
What’s more, the ability to store and manage data easily across environments can help organisations reduce the business impact of a potential hardware failure — from a single disk or node to an entire site. With a distributed storage platform, data can be written to multiple locations simultaneously, making it unnecessary to physically move data in the event of a disaster, maximising availability and improving disaster recovery planning in the process.
This makes it simpler to ensure multi-site high availability for applications across geographically spread data centres. Enterprises are also spared the time and investment required to deploy complex and expensive replication technologies on top of their storage infrastructure to meet business continuity and disaster recovery SLAs. As a result, uptime increases while costs decrease.
With a distributed storage platform, data can be written to multiple locations simultaneously, making it unnecessary to physically move data in the event of a disaster.
Improving Flexibility & Scalability While Reducing Cost
Given this extra flexibility to store and manage data across diverse assets, IT teams can choose the right environment for each application and technology stack according to its specific requirements. This granular approach to provisioning lets storage admins avoid the challenges and compromises of one-size-fits-all storage and support business SLAs while lowering operational costs.
SDS can also be easily scaled out using off-the-shelf commodity servers, enabling a flexible “pay as you grow” model by adding capacity only when it’s needed. This eliminates the need for overprovisioning, and the wasted capital expense it brings, while helping storage admins respond quickly to changing business needs.
This approach enables modern businesses to meet today’s storage and data management challenges, and in turn, optimise their use of multi-cloud environments. That’s vital in an era defined by the need to build adaptable infrastructure that allows businesses to meet emerging challenges and focus on competitive advantage.
About the author
Chris Hardy, Senior Director, EMEA Sales, Emerging Technologies at Commvault has over 20 years of experience bringing innovative technologies to enterprises. He is currently championing Hedvig, Commvault’s latest acquisition.