Data Deluge – Do More at Lower Costs

Article by Karan Kirpalani

Data is growing at an exponential rate – it is important that CIOs consider key parameters to reduce their TCO in order to make their storage solution affordable, manageable and be able to extract value from their stored data

CIOs look at increased agility to use data to do more, faster and at lower costs despite explosion of data and location of the data. According to Gartner survey of businesses globally, 46% of business data is stored outside the firewall and a percentile of it in mobile devices – cloud stores major portion of the data.

Data Center players are demanded to provide high performance, reliability and security at a much lower total cost of ownership as CIOs are figuring out newer ways to innovating with data in the cloud.

The organizational demand for more and more storage as data explodes will only increase. But are budgets growing as per the needs of the organization for more storage? No, IT budgets have more or less remained a constant figure. This puts pressure on CIOs to find better ways to manage costs – looking at in-sourcing or outsourcing arrangements.

As data increases in volume so does the network investments – if cloud is the answer to a CIO’s IT woes, then making storage in the cloud enterprise ready is critical.

Cloud Storage and its implications

We see data moving from beyond the walls of the enterprise and into the cloud. According to Govind Desikan at Netmagic Solutions, the chasm has been crossed over and enterprises are putting more and more data on the cloud – apart from maybe, the databases.

In data hungry sectors such as banking, data growth is exponential and compliance and regulatory requirements force these organizations to store and archive data for longer durations, than some of the other sectors – thus hugely impacting the need for cost-effective high-performance storage.

While cloud can help in consolidating resources and better utilization of the capacities, the task of managing TCO is still hard. Upfront capacity requirements, Lifespan / Data Retention costs, cost to operate the storage system and the cost of the facilities and power consumption – all impact the TCO of storage. Within the cloud ecosystem, new data being stored can not only improve capacity management, but also optimize system performance, operational costs to run the infra, etc.

Every application hosted on the cloud need different workloads, capacity requirements, performance needs and cost metrics – all impacting the TCO. Parameters that impacts TCO are capacity, performance, power, workload, hardware cost, maintenance cost, security, drive retirement costs, etc.

Lowering TCO

CIOs need to conduct a true assessment of costs before optimizing systems. If the actual cost calculations are not done correctly, it could lead to a mismatch in desired results.

Easily put, CIOs can reduce TCO by using scalable platforms that cater to evolving business demands, use of open source solutions, and moving to data center providers who can provide rapid scale without drastically increasing TCO and without compromising performance or reliability.

But it is not as simple. The move to cloud for most organization is a strategic one that has to look at lowering costs as well as boosting innovation.

So the real CIO challenge – find ways to extract the intrinsic value of data from the most critical as well as the unstructured volumes of data being generated by the enterprise. Today most CIOs are looking at hybrid cloud storage models in order to keep most sensitive data private and other data in the public domain that can be easily accessed.

CIOs should consider the following in order to lower total cost of ownership through a cloud storage solution.

  • Improved disaster preparedness of the cloud storage provider will help suffer lesser downtime and better meet service-level agreements (SLAs).
  • By improving recovery processes, CIOs can reduce effort and resources spent on managing IT assets thus help lower TCO – CIOs should look for technologies that reduce time-to-recover parameters.
  • Ask and look for storage technologies – within the provider’s data center – that have reduced energy consumption without compromising on performance.
  • Storage vendors are adhering to customer demands of being able to select hardware based on cost-per-IOPS or cost-per-terabyte –Do the metrics and make the right choice on cost vs. performance.
  • Look for providers who have automated IT management processes within their data center – the cost component that impacts TCO to the max is that of managing existing infrastructure.

While one of the first alternatives to legacy storage is cloud storage, turning your current investments into a very visible, monthly service cost, it is imperative for a decision maker to understanding what can inflate the TCO of a storage system. While evaluating a cloud storage solution, specially address areas like true capacity costs, lifespan costs and data protection costs to make the TCO closer to the acquisition cost. It is important that CIOs should considers these points to be able to choose a partner who is able to deliver high performing storage solution that can scale within budget and is completely SLA based.