A famous advert for a well-known mobile phone network once said that 'the future’s bright. For the IT industry, it has always been an apt phrase, as it has the exciting job of making ideas and dreams reality through technology. Fifty years ago, we were dreaming of video phones, cars powered by electricity and robots flying around capital cities. As we look at our iPhones, Teslas and Amazon drones today, it is incredible to think of where technology will take us next.
But are we ready for it?
Technology has rapidly accelerated over the past 20 years with the birth of the internet. Making all this possible is a myriad of connected infrastructures, all vital foundations that keep technology running. Once upon a time we had the entire back-end of our computer in the room with us. Today, the masses of data that we produce are far more likely to be in a data centre on the other side of the country. It’s out of sight – but it should never be out of mind.
The modern data centre needs to support the dynamic nature of modern businesses — seamlessly scale with growth, deliver outstanding user experience, and support agile business response to changing market requirements. The only certainty about what’s next for the modern business is that it will be different and will come faster than anyone predicted.
As society becomes increasingly connected, these data needs become ever more intimidating. Gartner says that we will have 21 billion connected devices by 2020; to make the data from all those devices useful they will needed to be supported by an infrastructure that can store large amounts of it extremely quickly, preferably in real-time, and be highly flexible to scale up to accommodate future desires.
With this in mind, businesses are increasingly turning to all-flash arrays to support their data centres. But what are the key things to look for when investing in storage for your future?
Predictability is insurance
Ask yourself: does your storage system give you the predictability you need to see into the future? Do you know what will happen if you add new applications or processes to your system, or are you just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best? A predictable storage platform — one that prepares a business for its next wave of challenges — must deliver on multiple fronts, starting with the scalability and performance that ramps with business demands without being costly, hard to manage, or unreliable. Without reliable, predictable performance from your storage, you’re in for a nasty surprise when the unexpected happens.
Capacity to mix it up
Increasingly, some all-flash arrays are designed specifically to handle mixed workloads and provide agile scalability to match changing requirements. Today’s businesses often need storage which combines performance with capacity, especially if they are planning on growing quickly to meet increasing customer demand. All-flash works towards a higher performance within a shared pool of storage volumes, and by enabling both scale-up and scale-out, customers can optimise for both performance and overall efficiency for their specific application. As we take on newer and more data-intensive tasks and create more data than ever before, flash storage creates the optimal environment to handle all of the different workloads created.
Flexible for the future
Storage is a huge investment for most businesses, and in our rapidly changing climate they need assurance that it will be able to scale with hardware. All-flash is designed with flexibility in mind, ensuring that businesses can use the most cost-effective hardware available and retire older hardware non-disruptively.
Storage forms the foundation of the data centre, as it is the platform that is already supporting businesses as they undergo digital transformation, leverage the Internet of Things, extract value from big data, and support their employees and customers with advanced applications. As we look to the future, it is time for businesses to make sure their storage infrastructure is future-proofed and ready for anything that lies ahead.
Tom O'Neill, CTO EMEA at Kaminario
Image source: Shutterstock/Ralwel