1. Automated Disk Tiering
Traditional proactive disk storage performance tuning methods involve monitoring the application, server and storage to find out what data is most actively used, then manually moving it to an appropriate disk storage tier, or actively waiting for an application or service to miss its performance targets. However these techniques are quickly becoming outdated as they are expensive and unsustainable, resulting in the rise of automated disk tiering.
In the IT market clock for storage report, research firm Gartner defines automated disk tiering as "products that monitor the patterns of data access within storage arrays and based on the performance requirements they automatically move the data to the appropriate disk storage tier”.
It goes on to say that this area plays a significant part in the next generation of modular storage.
One factor to keep in mind is to ensure the system has a detailed reporting tool so customers can verify the system is functioning correctly.
2. Bare-Metal Restore (BMR)
Labelled by Gartner as a "mature mainstream” technology in the Hype cycle for storage technologies, 2010, bare-metal restore has well and truly penetrated the market and should, in theory, be an easier sell than some of the more emerging technologies in this area as it is widely accepted and trusted. Most organisations already have BMR products, as they have long been used to repair or redeploy PCs.
Organisations with large deployments of Windows servers are ideal for BMR products, as security or other patch deployments may necessitate quick deployment or fast recovery of files if problems arise.
Your customers should already be aware that the need for rapid system recovery is vitally important in an age where the crux of a business relies on servers functioning correctly. A timeframe of days is no longer acceptable in terms of a recovery period, and the fact that BMR reduces recovery times of servers and PCs considerably, makes it a notable product in the storage realm.
3. Cloud storage
You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again, the rising trend that is the cloud is rapidly being adopted and many vendors are dipping their toes into this market. Cloud storage involves scalable storage capabilities being delivered as a service, using internet technologies, to external customers. In IT market clock for storage, 2010, Gartner emphasises that cloud storage vendors need to create margins that are comparable to storage service providers, those margins being 20% to 30%. "Cloud storage promises to reduce the uncertainty of storage infrastructure costs, because it can change the cost mechanism from a capital outlay to an operational cost.”
While it also promises to solve storage management overheads, clients should be reminded that cloud storage will not remove data management overheads.
Before considering cloud storage, performance requirements need to be defined in a service-level agreement. Establish the levels of performance, recovery, availability and data integrity the organisation requires so you can determine if cloud archive, backup and recovery services are needed.
4. Driving the Market
It’s always good to keep in mind what pushes a market in a particular direction and how it dictates clients’ purchasing decisions. The Gartner whitepaper IT market clock for storage, 2010, states that that there are three major forces driving storage at present:
Cost – With double-digit data and storage growth rates, storage departments are always looking to store more data but at the same cost. New data reduction technologies, such as thin-provisioning techniques, are becoming widely adopted and are a good way to temporarily halt or reduce the costs of storing data. Hardware technologies, such as SATA and SSD disk, are leading the way in terms of solutions that store more data for less cost.
Data retention – This includes the requirement for archiving and maintaining data integrity. While it’s considered best practice to delete unnecessary data, organisations have only just begun implementing processes to discover what data they have, and its value. Information life cycle management and data classification are often recommended to solve this problem, however, these initiatives can be complex and costly. Organisations are now archiving as much as they can. The software-archiving market has been growing faster than any other segment.
Storage management – For senior management, this refers to the responsibility for everything related to data. For storage managers or administrators this often means the everyday management of devices where the application, context, and value of data are unknown. Most organisations choose to purchase hardware products to solve storage problems as they are easily justified. Therefore, these solutions are likely to be favoured over storage management processes for managing storage growth.
Gartner recommends that storage management should involve capacity planning, performance and availability management, asset management, and using formulised methods when establishing what storage solutions and devices are the most suitable for a client’s infrastructure.
5. E-mail Archiving
You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again, the rising trend that is the cloud is rapidly being adopted and many vendors are dipping their toes into this market. Cloud storage involves scalable storage capabilities being delivered as a service, using internet technologies, to external customers.
In IT market clock for storage, 2010, Gartner emphasises that cloud storage vendors need to create margins that are comparable to storage service providers, those margins being 20% to 30%. "Cloud storage promises to reduce the uncertainty of storage infrastructure costs, because it can change the cost mechanism from a capital outlay to an operational cost.”
While it also promises to solve storage management overheads, clients should be reminded that cloud storage will not remove data management overheads. Before considering cloud storage, performance requirements need to be defined in a service-level agreement.
Establish the levels of performance, recovery, availability and data integrity the organisation requires so you can determine if cloud archive, backup and recovery services are needed.
Recovery and backup software is considered to be the largest sub-segment in the storage management software mainframe market. The focus for software in this area is starting to switch from a backup mind-set to the idea of recovery. "Organisations are looking to solutions that improve recovery point objective and recovery time objective options,” reports Gartner in Market share analysis: Storage management software, worldwide 2009. Organisations are beginning to look at application-specific management options, and are adopting point products that improve the protection of remote-office data. A solution that improves RPOs and RTOs will hold considerable appeal for many businesses.
7. Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
The HDD market makes up the largest segment of the storage market based on revenue. Within this market, modular and mid-range file-based storage array segments are seeing faster growth than other parts of the market. The lower acquisition and operational management costs of modular storage would be an attractive option for most businesses, therefore expect the popularity of this segment to continue to increase.
8. Storage Virtualisation
The title of the Gartner report Deploy storage virtualisation to meet business and storage strategy requirements sums up this area nicely. The report states: "It is hard to imagine any storage network (storage area network (SAN) or network-attached storage) without virtualisation.”
Within a storage network environment there are three general locations where virtualisation can be utilised: inside the host or application server, inside an appliance within the network, or inside a disk array. Gartner predicts that through to at least 2015, disk storage arrays will continue to be the primary source for storage virtualisation.
The popularity of external storage virtualisation products is on the rise. Gartner suggests that "when deploying an external, or heterogeneous, virtualisation product in new infrastructures, it should come with the same degree of scalability and enterprise-class properties as the products it front-ends”. Before deploying an external storage virtualisation product for a client, check that the virtualisation appliance is explicitly supported by SAN management software, the virtualisation appliance is properly integrated with each element of the server software stack, and that the proposed disk component has management tools that are integrated and supported by the virtualisation appliance.
9. Primary Deduplication
A primary selling point to deduplication is that it can save a large amount of disk space. This is appealing to many organisations as data volumes are continuing to expand, with growth rates sitting at 40% to 60%. "Primary deduplication can lower the total cost of disk by offering beneficial reductions in the number of disk spindles and reduced floor space, electrical and cooling requirements,” highlights Gartner.
When it comes down to selling primary deduplication, target sectors that are data-intensive, such as movie studios, medical imaging, healthcare and scientific computing, as these verticals will benefit significantly from storage resource utilisation. Organisations that have large network shares could also reap the advantages, reducing their required disk storage capacity by a factor of three to seven, or even higher.
10. SMB versus Enterprise
Differences between the SMB/SOHO space and the enterprise space are particularly relevant and good to keep in mind when it comes to selling storage. Gartner’s Managing Vice President for Storage, Phil Sargeant, told The Channel that there are a couple of major differences that need to be considered.
"When we consider storage in the enterprise market we are literally talking about hundreds of terabytes of storage,” states Sargeant, "while an SMB may only have 40 or 50.” He goes on to say that enterprise storage needs revolve around more sophisticated requirements and functions, using features that SMBs can’t justify.
"There is no doubt storage and information in the SMB space is growing. Therefore, we are now seeing more of the expensive features and functions percolating down in to this market.”
While enterprises require large capacities of storage, this also requires large amounts of cash flow. Sargeant highlights the fact that they are beginning to look at other technologies in order to reduce expenditure.
"The enterprise space is now looking at storage systems that have lesser performing disks, and combining this with the traditional high-performing and high-reliability systems, basically for cost reasons.”