Faster and more efficient data storage is becoming a priority for organizations across Asia Pacific as the explosion in information pushes existing systems to the bursting point. While data pressures have yet to reach the same intensity as in North America, industry forecasts indicate enterprises only have a small window to prepare.
According to Gartner, requirements for external storage in Asia Pacific will increase by a compound annual growth rate of 57% over the next four years. This is more than double the rate being experienced in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (27%), and nearly twice that of the Americas (33%). As a result, raw data in Asia Pacific will top 31 million terabytes by 2017 – 13 times more than the amount that existed just three years ago.
Such overwhelming amounts of information are fundamentally changing the way organizations do business, presenting major challenges for back-up and recovery.
One of the biggest drivers of data growth is the widespread adoption of mobile devices with more people in Asia now using smart phones and tablets than anywhere else in the world. Many businesses have introduced Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies that allow staff to use their mobiles and tablets for work. For IT managers, this adds extra layers of complexity, with organizations facing the prospect of managing a huge range of device types and data formats.
Aging storage is a serious business risk
Recent natural disasters in countries such as Japan and the Philippines have highlighted the importance of having robust back-up and recovery systems in place. It is not only tsunamis and typhoons that pose a threat, any event that causes a serious slowdown or outage must be properly managed, with critical business information to be protected and made available as soon as possible.
Get this wrong and the consequences are potentially massive and business threatening. According to Gartner, the losses amount to an average US$5600 for every minute of unplanned downtime.
To avoid these losses and reduce the overall risk to their businesses, organizations need to review their storage systems, assessing the following areas:
- Storage architecture – look at both the current and future needs of the business to ensure that any infrastructure investment drives innovation and supports growth across the organization.
- Server virtualization – legacy storage is the most common reason for under-performance in virtual environments, as it cannot cope with unpredictable, multi-tenant and highly random virtual workloads.
- Data protection and recovery – backup restore times should be tested to ensure they are within service level agreement (SLA) expectations.
- Flash-based storage – examine opportunities for flash-based storage to improve the performance and efficiency of key business applications.
- Wasted capacity – most legacy storage systems are guilty of massive wasted capacity with an average 50% more volume allocated than required. Such inefficient data utilization creates additional costs with the unused infrastructure difficult to reclaim.
Tape is still in the mix
Efficiency and flexibility need to be the priorities when organizations consider transitioning from a traditional monolithic storage solution to a modern alternative. Organizations should consider a converged approach that can be scaled with the business to address all storage needs from backup and retention, to recovery and archiving under a common management interface.
Across Asia Pacific, tape remains the most common form of storage for back-up and recovery, but it is a technology that was never designed to cope with the high volumes of data being created today.
However, that does not mean tape is dead – far from it. While disk to disk with deduplication for eliminating replicated data is the recommended approach for primary backup, tape is still an important secondary or tertiary backup tier.
New technologies, such as linear tape file system (LTFS), enable solutions which look and feel like disk and allow very easy and simple archive platforms. Although unable to perform at the same level as disk to disk in a major outage, tape is still an effective line of defense.
When looking at storage options, businesses should make sure that the preferred solution is future-proof, scalable for the New Style of IT and has the ability to restore data in line with business expectations.
Benefits of a converged approach
A converged storage approach ensures that the business is fully protected, should the worst case scenario occur.
Collapsing multiple storage silos into a streamlined system will result in a vastly improved return on investment for information, infrastructure and staffing. Using an industry standardized system is more cost effective, as it can be easily expanded to accommodate growing data levels.
The simplicity of the approach means less training is required and organizations have more time to focus on business operations as opposed to management and maintenance. Modern storage infrastructure also allows the enterprise to realize the full benefits of virtual projects, leading to yet more cost savings and improved efficiency. Organizations will also benefit from faster and enhanced levels of information analytics to support business decision-making.
Turning data overload into business strength
The scale and complexity of the current mobile-driven data explosion is set to overwhelm traditional storage systems and seriously compromise efficient backup and recovery. Organizations must evolve into a position to continue business operations with minimal interruption if disaster does strike.
By tackling storage concerns now, organizations in Asia Pacific will be able to better manage their data and optimize for growth, while ensuring that essential information is protected and secure. With a converged storage solution, they can turn the data challenge into a business advantage.
Robert Chu, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Storage, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP