Data is the lifeforce of modern business: It accelerates revenue, fuels innovation, and enhances customer experiences that drive small and mid-size businesses forward, faster. Yet while data-driven modernization is a top priority, achieving it requires confronting a host of data storage challenges that slow you down: management complexity and silos, specialized tools, constant firefighting, complex procurement, and flat or declining IT budgets.\n\nTo truly modernize today, you need more than a faster and more powerful box. You need to break away from legacy infrastructure and elevate your storage experience with a platform that simplifies and automates everything, ensures apps are always on and always fast, and unlocks agility by delivering the cloud experience everywhere.\n\nSound intimidating? When your next mid-range storage refresh rolls around, here are five key strategies to successful modernization:\n\n1. Go faster with a cloud experience everywhere\n\nPublic cloud has set the standard for agility with a cloud operational model that enables line of business (LOB) owners and developers to build and deploy new applications, services, and projects faster than ever before. Now, extending that idea further, small- and mid-sized organizations are racing to bring the benefits of the cloud operational experience to wherever their apps and data live, from edge to on-prem to colo.\n\nSimplifying operations and moving faster with a cloud experience everywhere is critical to organizations: According to ESG, 91% of IT leaders identify mature cloud operations on-premises as the single most important step to eliminating complexity. The same survey reported that more than 4 in 5 IT leaders are under pressure to deliver more cloud experiences to end users, which is a challenge when up to 70% of enterprise apps and data remain on-prem due to data gravity, latency, application dependency, and compliance requirements.\n\nSimplifying and automating on-prem storage with the self-service agility of a cloud operational experience changes the mid-range storage game entirely. Leveraging AIOps, a cloud-managed, on-prem mid-range storage platform makes underlying data infrastructure invisible \u2014 eliminating silos, complexity, and the burden of day-to-day storage administration while shifting operations from an infrastructure-focused to an app-focused model. Unlike traditional storage management, a cloud operational experience delivers the self-service storage provisioning agility that your LOB owners and developers need to accelerate app deployment while also freeing IT resources to work on strategic, higher-value initiatives.\n\n2. Put storage on autopilot with an AI-managed service\n\nA true cloud operational experience should be powered by the data-driven insights and intelligence provided by advanced AI for infrastructure. Why is that important? Because AI-powered autonomous operations ensure apps are always on and always fast \u2014 which means your organization can say goodbye to endless firefighting.\n\nWith an AI-managed service, you can predict and prevent disruptions before they occur across the stack, pinpoint issues between storage and VMs, and identify underutilized virtual resources. Your admins can rely on AI-driven recommendations to take the guesswork out of managing data infrastructure, and you eliminate time-consuming escalations through predictive support automation and direct access to experts.\n\n3. Get optimum price performance for general-purpose workloads\n\nAs small- and mid-range organizations continue to experience flat or declining IT budgets, hybrid storage solutions have become increasingly efficient at delivering the performance companies need for their mix of primary workload, secondary backup, and disaster recovery workloads while helping to contain the cost of rapidly growing data volumes. Hybrid storage solutions balance performance and cost by storing active and frequently accessed data on flash storage while storing inactive or less important data on more affordable media.\n\nThe most advanced hybrid arrays combine flash performance with disk economics. They feature ultra-efficient architectures designed from the ground up to deliver fast, consistent performance and industry-leading data efficiency. Look for a hybrid storage solution that accelerates your apps with sub-millisecond latency, writes to cost-optimized disk at flash speeds via write serialization, and offers dynamic flash caching to speed your reads even as workloads change in real time.\n\nModern hybrid flash arrays can also help you increase storage efficiency while lowering costs and footprint. They do this with advanced, always-on data reduction \u2014 encompassing deduplication, compression, zero-pattern elimination, thin provisioning, and thin clones \u2014 which can deliver up to 5x the space savings without performance penalty.\n\n4. Depend on a resilient, proven platform\n\nMid-size organizations increasingly rely on applications to handle everything from back-end operations to the delivery of products and services. That\u2019s why proven availability, protecting data, and ensuring applications stay up are more important than ever before.\n\nAdvanced, AI-driven arrays eliminate the anxiety and disruption of unexpected downtime by guaranteeing resilient six-nines data availability based on real, achieved values (as opposed to theoretical projections) and measured across an entire installed base. Paired with advanced AI for infrastructure that predicts and prevents problems, your arrays should get smarter, better, and more reliable every day.\n\nDon\u2019t accept trade-offs between data resilience and performance. Your mid-range storage array should deliver Triple+ Parity RAID as standard, with zero performance impact. Triple+ Parity RAID can sustain three simultaneous drive failures without data loss and provides additional protection through intra-drive parity.\n\nEnsure your recovery SLAs with fast, simple, and integrated app-aware backup and recovery \u2014 on premises and in the cloud. Natively replicate from all-flash arrays to hybrid arrays and leverage a SaaS-based backup and recovery service to simplify hybrid cloud data protection with instant restores, rapid recovery on premises and cost-effective, long-term retention in the cloud.\n\n5. Consume as a service, on demand\n\nFinally, you should be able to choose how to consume your mid-range storage array with either Capex or pay-per-use options. A flexible as-a-service consumption model enables you to avoid over- and under-provisioning concerns, Capex budget constraints, and complex procurement cycles.\n\nHow so? First, by easily getting the storage resources needed with workload-optimized storage tiers delivered in days. Second, by scaling on-demand and as necessary, with buffer capacity for unexpected workloads or usage demands. And third, by moving from heavy up-front costs to transparent, predictable monthly payments based on actual metered consumption \u2014 with complete visibility into your storage utilization at any time.\n\nIt\u2019s time to rethink mid-range storage\n\nTaken together, these five strategies point to a mid-range primary storage solution that makes it easy to focus on data-driven modernization and accelerating innovation \u2014 without having to deal with legacy storage headaches, disruptions, or high costs.\n\nAt HPE, we\u2019re delivering exactly that: simple, reliable, and cost-efficient hybrid storage, adaptively designed for both general purpose and secondary workloads. Built from the DNA of the HPE Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash array, HPE Alletra 5000 brings the cloud experience to your on-premises storage and simplifies operations across the lifecycle, from deployment to provisioning to upgrades.\n\nHPE Alletra 5000 speeds time to value by delivering 99% operational time savings via intent-based provisioning, which enables line of business and database admins to self-provision storage for faster app deployments. It also eliminates app disruptions and firefighting thanks to HPE InfoSight, the industry\u2019s most advanced AIOps for infrastructure. You get absolute resiliency with guaranteed six-nines data availability, Triple+ Parity RAID, and simple hybrid cloud data protection \u2014 and optimal flash price performance for your general-purpose workloads with a unique, ultra-efficient architecture. Even better, you can consume HPE Alletra 5000 as a service via HPE GreenLake, enabling you to shift from owning and maintaining data infrastructure to simply accessing and utilizing it.\n\nIf your next storage refresh doesn\u2019t offer capabilities like these, it\u2019s time to rethink your mid-range storage and aim for true data-driven modernization.\n\n____________________________________\n\nAbout Simon Watkins\n\nSimon Watkins is a Worldwide Senior Product Marketing Manager with HPE Storage. The 20-year veteran of the storage industry started his career in data protection, and spent the last few years working in primary storage, most recently helping drive the transformation of the HPE Storage business from a hardware vendor to a cloud data services provider. He holds an Executive MBA from the London Business School as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cambridge University in the UK.