As the amount of data created and captured by digital technology continues to grow exponentially, enterprises must integrate new storage technologies and processes\u2014or risk falling behind competitors.\n\n\nThe challenge, however, goes far beyond having enough storage capacity. The real goal of enterprise storage should be to transform the data center into a strategic business asset. And that\u2019s accomplished by deploying tools and services that optimize the value of an enterprise\u2019s data.\n\n\nSome data is accessed frequently, and some just once a year. There\u2019s data that can be mined using analytics to predict customer behavior, and other data that\u2019s random \u201cnoise.\u201d Some data might need to be accessed in real-time to enable transactions that benefit the business. There might be data you\u2019re willing to store in a public cloud, and other data that you prefer to store on-premises.\n\n\nAll of which means there\u2019s no \u201cone size fits all\u201d solution to enterprise storage. Given the growing diversity and complexity of enterprises\u2019 data needs, the next generation of data centers is likely to leverage a mix of storage technologies, including:\n\n\nAll-flash arrays, or solid state drives (SSD), which offer extremely low latency and thus are ideal for accessing data as part of a real-time transaction\nHybrid arrays, a combination of flash and traditional hard disk drives (HDD) \u00a0that blend cheaper disk storage with more expensive and faster flash technology\nAutomated tiered storage, which enables data to be routed to the appropriate storage technology\n\n\nMany enterprises grappling with tight budgets might be tempted to stick with HDD as a storage solution, but the purchase price of SSD storage continues to fall, making it an increasingly viable option. Further, adding even just a small amount of flash storage can improve response time and reduce hardware support costs, resulting in more favorable TCO.\n\n\nStorage in the next-generation data center won\u2019t be about warehousing information. It will be about storing data intelligently based on use and need. It will be about using data as a competitive weapon. It will be about ensuring access and analysis when and where it\u2019s needed.\n\n\nFlash and other emerging storage technologies such as virtualization will play an increasing role in the competitive strategies of enterprises in the mobile, cloud-based digital economy. IT decision-makers struggling to determine the right storage formula for their enterprises should talk with an experienced storage product and services vendor to determine the best combination of technologies for their data center needs.\n\n\nJustifying a storage refresh? Get SMART! Learn how next generation technologies can create a cost effective model with unrivaled flexibility.\u00a0\u00a0Get S.M.A.R.T. today.