The storage infrastructure business has been undergoing a significant transformation over the past few years. Total storage capacity has more than doubled causing CIO’s and IT administrators to pull their hair out trying to keep up with the pace of growth. As we look forward, there doesn’t really seem to be a reason why this growth will slow in the coming years. Richer media (high definition photos and video, for example), mobile device use in the workplace, and the continuing transition to digitize everything will ensure a strong future for the storage marketplace. That being said, it is absolutely essential that we manage storage smarter, make better use of storage assets, and curb that growth as much as possible in order to stay within budget constraints. Last time I checked, storage media doesn’t grow on trees.
The new way to get a handle on storage growth is by leveraging cloud solutions, but what does that really mean? There are mainstream providers offering cloud storage solutions like Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and others, but is that really a viable solution for your valuable intellectual property? Public cloud solutions may be of interest as an extension of an existing environment for specific uses, but most enterprises likely want more security and control over their infrastructure than what can be offered by these types of providers. Another option may be a Co-Lo provider or an MSP that can provide storage services for your environment and guarantee a certain level of security for your most important data.
However, in talking to clients over the past several months, I have found that many enterprises want to build their own cloud infrastructure, but they are not sure how to get started. The first step is understanding what differentiates a cloud infrastructure from a traditional IT environment, and then deciding on a course of action to make the transition. When considering data center transformation to a cloud infrastructure, the first step will be enabling virtualization of your physical storage assets. This is the key to building a set of services for your end users and improving the overall performance and efficiency of the infrastructure as a whole. Virtualized storage can then also be used to standardize advanced services that you can offer to your users such as data protection, backup/archive, and data resiliency for disaster avoidance and recovery. Without virtualization, you are at the mercy of the storage system to provide those services and in a heterogeneous storage environment, you may not be able to offer any or all of those services for all of your storage.
Last year at IBM, we announced SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC) specifically to help IT organizations transition from traditional storage management to a cloud-based approach. VSC enables clients to virtualize their entire storage infrastructure, build a standard catalog of storage services to offer to end-users. These services include a variety of efficiency features like thin provisioning, real-time compression, and tiered storage management. For the storage administrator, VSC automates the provisioning process and integrates with other SmartCloud offerings to provide charge-back reporting and workflow orchestration. The beauty of VSC is that it can be integrated into your existing environment without having to replace any of your storage assets, enabling you to begin transition to a cloud infrastructure immediately.
To help deal with the challenges of managing backup/restore of your virtual infrastructure, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Virtual Environments (TSM for VE) provides a unified platform to deliver an efficient, integrated approach to data storage and availability. Enabling backup and restore of data residing on virtual machines, without negatively impacting operations, this solution eliminates the need for periodic full backups, helps reduce backup times, and lowers storage costs by performing progressive incremental backups of your virtual machines.
Next week at the Edge Conference in Las Vegas, NV, I, along with many others, will be speaking about the convergence of cloud and storage. If you are planning to attend, I encourage you to drop in on some of these sessions where subject matter experts from IBM will be talking in depth about best practices implementations, and clients already using these technologies will talk about their experiences. Here are just a few sessions that may be of interest to you:
Session 1164, Introduction to SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center
Mon. June 10, 11:00am
Session 1138, IBM Cloud Storage Architectures
Wed. June 12, 12:30pm
Session 1551, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and Cloud
Wed. June 12, 4:30pm
Session 1265, Building the Cloud Enabled Data Center
Thur. June 13, 12:30pm