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Bridging the app-data gap

In the digital age, it is imperative that businesses, whatever their size, transform and modernise to pursue new digital projects and expand their capabilities. Digital transformation has rendered businesses increasingly reliant upon hundreds - or in some cases, even thousands - of applications, which power every sort of business process, ranging from product development, to marketing and sales.  

This shift impacts a number of business outcomes, with benefits including greater inventory management, call centre efficiency, pricing decisions and customer acquisitions.  

But the key to success is having quick and consistent access to data. If the delivery of data to an application is disrupted, it creates a gap which impacts both process and the desired outcomes: ultimately compromising the company’s effectiveness. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses endeavour to overcome this gap to assure they maintain a competitive edge in the market.    

Understanding the gap   

Recent research conducted by Nimble Storage investigated the origin of application breakdowns in over 7,500 companies, finding that 46 per cent of application performance problems, such as hardware failures, software failures, and capacity and performance challenges, came from the storage devices that provision those apps.  

In fact, the root cause of most application breakdowns relates to the rest of the infrastructure. This could be on account of compatibility problems, application misconfiguration, host-side problems, or not adhering to best practice, among many other reasons. What’s more, the study reveals that the majority of application breakdowns stem from complex infrastructures, with disruption in the delivery of data to the application causing the gap. 

When this happens, the process slows down, meaning information is not instantly available.  

And with applications now critical to every business process, from running the back office, to enhancing product development, and improving customer interaction, it is crucial for businesses to determine how to close the app-data gap and remove the barriers to data velocity.  

Achieving high application performance   

In order for organisations to attain high application availability and performance, it is important to consider how they can best optimise storage. Businesses are now turning to Flash storage, proven to be 100 times quicker than traditional disc storage, in order to attain greater data velocity without the need for numerous racks of equipment. 

Flash storage helps companies run a variety of applications far more effectively and efficiently, including databases, desktops, servers, virtualisation apps and collaboration tools. Although Flash can improve an application’s performance, it doesn’t, however, resolve problems related to the infrastructure. Deploying Flash in conjunction with a cloud-based predictive analytics solution can anticipate and prevent complications across the whole of the application-to-storage stack. 

Predictive analytics enable the infrastructure to be monitored in real-time, which allows companies to nimbly anticipate and remediate complex problems as they happen. As well as helping businesses avoid hot spots, and making planning simple, it also supports network administrators in making long term predictions as to where increased storage space will be needed, enabling a less disruptive and seamless roll out of new provisions.

Plugging the gap

Managing storage is proving to be progressively complex as enterprises demand more speed across the entire stack. This reflects the greater demand from businesses to have greater agility, ease of use, performance, and availability from their applications.  

These evolving challenges can be alleviated by implementing features such as Flash-optimised architectures, and predictive analytics.  Indeed, in maintaining complete and intuitive visibility into its infrastructure and storage, an organisation can remove barriers and achieve greater performance. And, by freeing up IT resources and resolving any issues related to complex infrastructures operations, businesses will benefit from assured business continuity and improved capacity.  

The app-data gap poses a massive challenge to organisations, particularly those with little visibility into the origin of application breakdowns. However, when the rewards include greater worker productivity and improved business performance, it proves difficult to ignore such a beneficial opportunity. 

Paul Scarrott, Director, Nimble Storage