Storage Landscape is Changing

Virtualization transformed data centers and restructured the IT hardware market. In this time of change, startups seized the opportunity to carve out a niche for products like virtualization-specific storage. But are these newcomers like Nutanix and Fusion-io here to stay or will they struggle to compete as established companies catch up with storage innovations of their own?

For a long time, it appeared storage vendors were growing complacent. A few interesting features would pop up from time to time, and performance was steadily improving, but there were few exciting breakthroughs. Users weren’t demanding new features, and vendors weren’t making it a priority to deliver storage innovations. Virtualization changed that tired routine.

In many ways, now, it is storage vendors that are knocking down technology walls and enabling new technologies to flourish. I discuss this topic more in my TechTarget article “Virtualization storage innovations challenge market leaders“. Please give it a read and come back here to leave any comments.

Virtualization Paying Off?

Several years ago, server virtualization rolled into the data center with all of the outrageous promises and unbelievable claims of a sideshow barker. Experts and vendors claimed it was going to improve server efficiency, shrink your infrastructure, slash bloated power bills, make cumbersome administrative tasks disappear and cure the common cold. The sales pitch was smooth and we all bought in, but has virtualization fulfilled the promises?

Did your infrastructure shrink when you implemented virtualization?

I want to hear more from you about this. Take a minute to read my TechTarget article “Virtualization improved server efficiency, but did it meet the hype?“, then come back here and contribute to the conversation.

Cloud Alignment

As an IT admin, it is often difficult to explain what you do with a simple answer. Your job is not simple or one-dimensional; system administration is merely the tip of the iceberg. You manage networks, storage arrays and servers so your company can provide services to customers and reach business goals. When considering cloud strategies for your organization, you can’t lose sight of this bigger picture and you must keep these ultimate goals in mind.

In the case of cloud strategies, maybe you choose to deploy a business model similar to an Internet service provider and establish a private cloud to provide services to business units. You could also employ a public cloud to offload time-consuming maintenance tasks. You might even use cloud services to move non-revenue-generating tasks out of your data center. All of these are useful cloud strategies, but you must ask yourself if they truly align with your business goals.

To continue this line of thought, read my TechTarget article “Aligning virtualization and cloud strategies with business goals“, then come back here and leave a comment to start the discussion.

Beware: Storage Sizing Ahead

Managing data growth continues to be a struggle, and organizations are beginning to outgrow that first storage array they bought a few years ago. As they do, some are in for a big surprise. For years, the focus has been on adding storage capacity. In fact, the development of a storage strategy is still referred to as a “sizing” exercise. However, today the challenge is now accessing that huge amount of data in an acceptable amount of time, and the size or capacity of the drive will have little or no correlation to the performance of the storage. An IT administrator who focuses too narrowly on adding storage capacity can end up with an array that can hold all the data, but can’t support the IOPS demanded by applications.

If you are considering a storage upgrade, it is critical that you understand how this can impact your organization. I cover this in more detail in my TechTarget article Adding storage capacity can actually hurt IOPS“. Please take a minute to read the article, the come back here and leave a comment to contribute to the conversation.