Although we’re facing a continued economic downturn in 2009, the growth rate of storage and storage requirements has not abated. Enterprises are facing tightened budgets, making it difficult for them to acquire new technologies. And whatever capital investments are made must be maximised to the fullest extent – which means companies will choose the storage solution that best meets their needs while looking for a quick return on investment (ROI) and return on assets (ROA).
Resellers need to enhance their expertise in storage technologies which can lead to optimisation of customers’ existing storage infrastructure and will have the biggest impact to their bottom lines. Below are the most important storage technologies that the channel should be aware of in 2009:
Virtualised storage services
Resellers should look at virtualisation of external storage for enterprises in 2009. By applying virtualised storage and combining it with lower-cost tiers of storage and thin provisioning, customers can better manage their data growth while maximising current investments for a quick return. Many installations are sitting on a goldmine of capacity, and on average, there is only 20-30% utilisation of existing storage.
Measurement of ROA not ROI
In these disruptive times, it is not enough for resellers to be talking to customers about measuring ROI to gauge the savings achieved. It can be inaccurate since it is primarily based on new assets being purchased and doesn’t take existing assets into account. Measuring IT spend against business revenue trends and ratios by taking the ROA into consideration is a more strategic approach, as it considers the impact of an investment on the total asset base.
Dynamic provisioning is another key technology that resellers can push, as it reduces capital expenditures for customers by increasing the relative efficiency of each block of storage. Organisations can align their applications’ consumption of storage to the allocation of it, which means they no longer need to devote physical space to storage that is allocated but never used. Provisioning storage from a virtual pool reduces administration costs by cutting the time needed to provision new storage.
Companies are keen to do more with less these days and any measure that helps them save costs and improve productivity will be in demand. For example, backup to disk and data de-duplication are key areas where customers can save money by pushing off and compressing the data and reducing the amount of times data is backed up. In some cases, however, the cost of data de-duplication does not always merit the solution, making a 50/50 mix of disk and tape an option to be strongly considered for 2009 and beyond. Many organisations will start product-testing with real data to ensure promises are met in terms of efficiency. Businesses will also more frequently request commitments be made within reseller contracts referring to the levels of de-duplication that can actually be achieved.
There will always be a focus on mitigating risk when it comes to data centres and storage. Increasingly, however, companies are turning their heads to the bottom line and require solutions that help them to save on power and cooling costs, as well as solutions that provide an exceptional overall return on existing assets and investment. As we move forward into 2009, companies will seek storage solutions and services from resellers that help them maintain existing data, perhaps through archiving and locating that data.
Going beyond a ‘pragmatic’ green approach
The increasing cost of power, lack of available data centre space and imminent carbon trading scheme will put increased pressure on organisations to implement tangible green IT strategies. Resellers need to be aware that more organisations are looking at adopting a green IT strategy, and storage plays a vital role in helping enterprises optimise their IT infrastructure to meet these requirements.
Sales Manager, is the head of Hitachi Data Systems’ New Zealand operations. He is responsible for expanding Hitachi’s storage infrastructure solutions in New Zealand, primarily through recruiting new channel partners and extending Hitachi’s current services model in the
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