When Big Iron Storage is Not Enough: 4 Expert Tips for Modernization

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In today’s marketplace, every industry is transforming, driven by unprecedented data growth and rapidly expanding data sources. In effect, no matter your business, data is now at the heart of everything you do. As organizations across industries evolve into data-driven enterprises, they must understand that new, mission-critical applications hold the keys to future innovation and business advantage. The winners will use these new apps to harness the value in their data and disrupt and displace those that cannot.

But there’s a significant roadblock in this vision for the future. IT departments are finding it nearly impossible to keep up with the demand for digital transformation because they are tied down administering, tuning, and maintaining infrastructure that supports existing mission-critical apps and data. While public cloud can offer relief for a variety of non-critical workloads, businesses are understandably unwilling to ship their mission-critical datasets to the cloud and potentially lose control of them. Nor are they willing to risk the inconsistent performance and availability that’s an unavoidable feature of public cloud. Where does that leave IT? Again and again, they’re forced to sacrifice agility and innovation for reliability.

It’s past time for traditional approaches to give way. Fortunately for IT, recent innovations in mission-critical architectures are making new levels of agility, reliability, and consolidation possible. Successful enterprises are now driving their digital transformation — and achieving unprecedented results — by focusing on innovations in next-generation architectures. Future-leaning organizations have also followed these four critical mandates to avoid the pitfalls of outdated mission-critical infrastructure.

1) Don’t get trapped by complexity

The “Big Iron” storage era required specialized technical know-how to handle inescapably complex tasks. The countless knobs and configurations required to keep infrastructure tuned and optimized also created opportunities for human error. This led to rigid infrastructure and prevented businesses from responding to IT needs that spanned disciplines. 

Now, future-oriented enterprises are shifting to an IT generalist model that relies on the simplicity of self-service infrastructure to deliver business acceleration and responsiveness. Key to that move is a new generation of infrastructure with a cloud-like agility that enables developers to provision for themselves. Highly automated and policy-based, this infrastructure delivers instant access to data and the flexibility to self-install and self-upgrade in minutes. Instead of thick manuals and a phone book of best practices to follow, IT can now provision with a few simple clicks and avoid tuning altogether. Meanwhile, by adopting infrastructure as code, DevOps is now free to use their familiar tools.

2) Don’t be satisfied with less than perfect resiliency

Another feature of Big Iron storage: it’s typically architected with an extreme redundancy that minimizes impacts when storage problems appear. That’s why it’s called mission-critical; every second of downtime prevents doctors from treating patients, banks from fueling the economy, and online retailers from serving their customers. However, according to IDC, 90% of application problems arise above the storage layer. As a result, traditional storage-level resiliency often winds up as a substantial investment that doesn’t necessarily give you the application protection you need. In a word, it’s incomplete.

To meet the demands of today’s digital world, you need IT to be always-on and always-fast, period. For that, successful organizations are using infrastructure that provides application-aware protection across the entire stack. The new generation of mission-critical storage not only delivers 100% availability, it has the intelligence to predict and prevent problems up and down the stack before they occur.

3) Don’t be held hostage by your storage

The current ownership model for Big Iron storage is broken. Organizations are stuck between a rock and a hard place — forced to choose between escalating maintenance costs and disruptive and time-consuming upgrades. Or worse, a forklift upgrade and months of data migration. Even incremental upgrades to firmware can be disruptive to your apps when legacy storage requires updating the entire operating system.

It’s time to quit the endless cycle of expensive storage refreshes, unplanned downtime, and forklift upgrades. Successful organizations have embraced a new approach, one that flips the traditional model on its head with future-proof storage and a seamless path to innovation.

4) Don’t pay for storage you don’t use

One of the biggest selling points of the public cloud is its financial simplicity. It’s a myth, of course, that tapping into a cloud economic model is as simple as swiping a credit card. But enterprises love the ability to bypass big upfront costs in favor of a monthly bill. By opening up a range of new approaches for budgeting and funding IT, cloud made IT resources more easily measurable by usage.

Why can’t technology enable the same thing for on-premises infrastructure? For example, new metering systems can track, record, and report on how hardware resources are being used on-prem. When combined with a comprehensive set of services to deliver, monitor, and support the infrastructure, these technologies can provide a true on-demand solution for the physical data center.

Successful enterprises are leveraging IT pay-for-use options to gain flexibility, increase control, and lower their total cost of ownership. Today’s as-a-service offerings deliver on-demand capacity and planning, combining the agility and economics of public cloud with the security and performance of on-premises IT.

It’s time to rethink mission-critical storage

Taken together, these four mandates point to primary storage solutions that deliver the cloud experience of simplicity and agility without compromising the performance and availability of mission-critical applications and data. Enterprises across industries can and should take advantage of them.

At HPE, we’ve left the agility versus reliability tradeoff behind by redefining mission-critical storage with HPE Primera. Delivering extreme availability and performance with the agility of the cloud, HPE Primera is breakthrough storage that ensures always-fast and always-on reliability for all mission-critical apps. An industry first, HPE Primera can be self-installed and self-upgraded in minutes and is backed by a 100% availability guarantee. Even better, HPE Primera provides a modern, as-a-service experience through HPE GreenLake.

In closing, I’ll leave you with a few questions: Does your mission-critical storage help power your business by enabling you to:

  • Enjoy provisioning in seconds, updates in minutes, and transparent upgrades for an on-demand experience?
  • Save as much as 93% of your time across the lifecycle of your storage?
  • Experience peace of mind with 100% availability that’s guaranteed?
  • Leverage an AI-driven intelligence that predicts and prevents issues up and down the stack?
  • Future-proof storage your investment with all-inclusive licensing, non-disruptive upgrades, flat support pricing, and more — all of which adds up to 40% lower TCO?
  • Consume your mission-critical storage as-a-service?

If the answer is no to any one of these, it’s time to rethink your mission-critical storage.

See how HPE Primera redefines mission-critical storage.

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About Omer Asad

omerasad
Omer Asad is the Vice President & GM of Primary Storage in the HPE Storage & Big Data group. In this role, he leads HPE Primera/3PAR & Data Management Product Management, Nimble Product Management, and the Nimble Support teams. In addition, Omer is responsible for driving the Next-Gen strategy and overall business plan for our Primary Storage business. Omer holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Duke University. He is based in San Jose, CA.

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