Data is the principal asset for any organisation.
By properly managing the influx of digital information, organisations can reduce total cost of ownership of the IT infrastructure, improve employee productivity and efficiency, ensure regulatory compliance and increase customer satisfaction. In short, information is the key to long-term business sustainability and growth.
However, the exponential rising costs of managing information can be a nightmare for organisations. According to a recent report conducted by Sweeney Research, the impact of the ‘information glut’ – the situation where growth and rising costs have led to inefficiency and inflexibility when it comes to information management – is considerable. From the 400 senior ICT decision makers surveyed, one in three companies is suffering under the burden of excessive growth in digital information.* Worryingly, a similar proportion is unable to recover files from backup tape or easily respond to a court-ordered discovery audit for emails sent and received just 18 months ago.
While organisations may still be cautious about their IT spending this year, the growth rate of storage and the demand on storage infrastructures continue to intensify. According to Gartner, enterprise data – including video, emails, images and business-related graphics – will increase 650% from 2009 to 2015. This, coupled with increasing scrutiny by regulators and the rising cost of non-compliance, means that having a data infrastructure that is both scalable and intelligent is vital.
As a result, IT departments must assess their infrastructures and investments this year. Below are three key storage priorities for IT decision makers in 2010.
1 Data centre virtualisation
By virtualising unused storage space, storage capacity is used better and optimised for the entire organisation. Virtualisation is a critical enabler of the dynamic data centre of tomorrow. In 2009, there was a trend towards lower-cost modular storage that scaled out, through switch technologies like Ethernet or RapidIO. In 2010, there will be demand for storage systems that both have the ability to scale-up as well as scale-out, depending on performance and capacity requirements.
2 Cloud storage
Cloud computing is often used as a metaphor for the internet. Cloud storage serves to mask the complexity of IT infrastructure and enables access to storage capacity as a pay-as-you-grow service. Awareness of the cloud and its potential will continue to grow this year and adoption of cloud storage will increase as advancements are made on key capabilities such as security, multi-tenancy and payment models. By deploying a cloud computing service offering, customers can safely segregate client data within a single storage solution, rather than through countless stand-alone silos.
IT managers must strike a balance between mitigating security risks and delivering the best infrastructures in terms of throughput, availability, scalability, cost and complexity. Each organisation must make its own trade-off decisions based on its unique situation and the importance of its data. In 2010, IT managers planning storage investments or use of third party services will need to take into account key priorities like data confidentiality, privacy, sanitisation/eradication and security, in order to ensure that data is in line with regulatory compliance.
Storing for growth
It is no secret that successful businesses will be able to deliver the right information at the right time, with those who are well-tooled and prepared with the right information best poised to make the most of the coming market upturn.
Moving into 2010, organisations need to evaluate solutions such as data centre virtualisation, cloud storage and security to minimise the effects of the ‘information glut’. As organisations continue to scrutinise their IT investments, CIOs must assess the ways they can maximise the return on each dollar spent in order to manage exponential data growth, optimise efficiency and stay competitive, and resellers should be poised to help.
* The Great Information Glut:
A look into Australia and New Zealand’s information burden and why we need an intervention, Hitachi Data Systems. Research conducted by Sweeney Research, September 2009. tinyurl.com/yk8kfzv