Is cutting edge storage technology really delivering on its promises?

A pile of discarded storage hardware

Posted on Friday, June 2, 2017

Recent research from DataCore has uncovered some fascinating insights into the software defined storage and the future of corporate data strategy. Previously we looked at how the majority of businesses are planning SDS deployments – but the DataCore team also discovered that many are struggling to make cutting edge technology pay for itself.

All is not well in the cloud

According to the tech press, the cloud has become a magic bullet, allowing organizations to solve all of their most pressing IT problems. After all, the promise of unlimited storage helps to overcome the most pressing issue of capacity limitations.

But the Sixth Annual “State of Software-Defined Storage, Hyperconverged and Cloud Storage” report paints a different picture. Nearly one third (31 percent) of the CTOs questioned reported that cloud storage had failed to reduce costs.

The ability to increase capacity without capital spend has always been advertized as one of the biggest cost saving benefits of the cloud – and on paper, this makes perfect sense. The experience of CTOs suggests that either this claim is unjustifiable, or that configuration issues and poor practices have eaten into those savings, leaving them with no additional budget for investment in strategic projects.

Flash ain’t so fast

Equally perplexing were CTOs’ feedback on flash storage. According to 16 percent of those questioned, flash arrays failed to accelerate applications.

With enhanced data access speeds being the main selling point for all flash arrays (AFAs), these reports are concerning. Particularly as the cost of flash is still significantly higher than spinning disks; if AFAs do not deliver much needed performance improvements, they will never generate the ROIs expected.

Although it is possible that AFAs have been deployed incorrectly (or ineffectually), the likelihood is that the applications themselves are causing performance bottlenecks. It could be that these applications need to be re-engineered to take advantage of flash architecture. Obviously this adds to the cost of AFA deployments, increasing the time to ROI.

Plan carefully

It would seem that behind the positive headlines, many CTOs are struggling to get to grips with the latest technologies – or to create the savings expected. Although in the minority, these complaints prove the importance of carefully planning new deployments – and being realistic with estimates of the benefits expected.

It may be that more conservative (realistic) benefits analysis exercises reveal that these businesses would gain more by extending the lifespan of their existing storage assets.

To discuss your options, and whether a significant change to storage infrastructure is the most beneficial strategy for your business goals, please get in touch.