In our information-driven world, storage is voraciously consuming IT budgets and staff time, with no sign of relief. Our 2012 InformationWeek State of Storage survey found that 32% of respondents actively manage more than 100 TB of data, and 24% are coping with growth rates in excess of 25% annually--a trajectory that doubles capacity requirements every few years. Meanwhile, pundits are hailing 2012 as the year of big data--as if that's a good thing.
It's difficult enough to keep up with insatiable consumption, but data capacity is only half the story. Networks for storage and data will be the next great enterprise upgrade wave. Architectures will be based on virtualization and private clouds, not discrete servers and local disks as they were in the past. The proliferation of server virtualization means that application workloads are changing, affecting both the mode of storage access (shared is in, direct attached is out) and performance demands (there's much more high-speed server-to-array traffic). Databases need lightning-fast access. Scalable capacity is a baseline expectation, but throughput in IOPS (input/output operations per second) is more important than ever.
All this puts storage strategy teams in the spotlight at IT budgeting sessions. Are you ready with a forward-looking plan?
The IT equivalent of duct tape isn't going to work, and many IT organizations are rethinking their entire storage and data architectures. Upgrades of this magnitude need to follow a well-thought-out, comprehensive strategy that sets parameters for product and vendor evaluations. Here's how you can make vendors address your specific needs on your terms through a formal request process.
What's Driving SAN Demand?
The changes buffeting enterprise storage are reflected in our recent InformationWeek Data Center Convergence Survey, in which 79% of respondents have deployed virtual servers on production or test environments. Consolidated application workloads, encapsulated in virtual machines that are easily moved from system to system with the click of a mouse--or even automatically in response to changing user demand and hardware failure--render legacy environments based on direct attached storage impractical. While our storage survey found that direct attached storage is still the most common deployment model, a growing number of shops are turning to various storage area network technologies, whether native Fibre Channel (FC) or Ethernet-based alternatives such as iSCSI or FCoE.
Download the Feb. 6, 2012 issue of InformationWeek