I've always considered storage to be an unappreciated field of endeavor. Like taxes, it's something organizations know they have to begrudgingly dig into their pockets to throw money at.
But in this era of big data analytics, storage needs to be recognized for what it is: the very foundation of business growth. That is, without it, there can be no growth — and no security or compliance, either.
The key is not to simply keep throwing money at the problem of proliferating data, to just keep buying more and more disk until you have rooms upon rooms of RAID arrays and racks. The key is smart storage — an approach that recognizes data has varying degrees of value, depending on how old it is, where it comes from, and who wants to use it — as opposed to big storage.
That's why a recent survey of 477 IT professionals, conducted by DataCore Software, is so intriguing. The survey finds organizations are having difficulties handling the soaring costs of storage, and the solutions now emerging — solid-state disk and cloud-based storage — are still not far-enough along to make a dent in the storage explosion.
Granted, as a data virtualization vendor, DataCore has a horse in this race. But data virtualization provides a way to open up data from a wide variety of sources to decision-makers in a one-stop, efficient way. Yet, storage continues to be the biggest chunk of the investment in virtualization projects, which includes both server and desktop initiatives. A majority (52 percent) said storage accounted for more than 25 percent of their virtualization budget.
In addition, 44 percent of respondents said the disproportionate storage-related costs were a “serious obstacle” or “somewhat of an obstacle” preventing them from virtualizing more of their workloads. Another 42 percent said the same about performance degradation or inability to meet performance expectations.
Will cloud provide some relief? Not quite yet — organizations “are not flocking to public cloud storage in droves for their storage needs,” DataCore report. Eight in 10 said they are not using any public cloud storage at this time.
Yes, storage certainly is an under-appreciated field of endeavor. But it needs to be greatly more appreciated going forward if big data analytics is to become part of an insurer's competitive war chest.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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