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How Software-Defined Storage can Empower Developers to Increase Business Value

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Software developers are now among the most strategic assets of any organization. In today’s fast-paced world, the speed at which one can develop new applications and microservices can dictate whether a company gets to market first or can respond effectively to a sudden competitive move or market shift. In other words, developers are having an unprecedented and direct impact on companies’ – and industries’ – fortunes.

This reality is supported by a 2018 Stripe and Harris Poll study, which predicts software developers’ skillsets alone could add $3 trillion to global GDP over the next decade. Accordingly, 61 percent of C-suite respondents to that study believe access to developer talent is a threat to the success of their business.

Freeing developers to work faster and be more productive

Not surprisingly, organizations aren’t just trying to keep developers focused on what they do best: creating, solving problems, and innovating – they’re also trying to increase their productivity.

Yet, despite the evolving appreciation for developers’ talents, the same study found that many companies are misusing their most important resource. A significant proportion of developers’ time is spent maintaining aging, legacy systems and patching bad software – to the tune of approximately $300 billion per year, with nearly $85 billion being spent addressing bad code alone.

As such, the role of the application architect has emerged in this new world of hybrid platforms to ensure developers’ code runs smoothly, interacts with other services, and makes efficient use of data, regardless of where it is created or consumed.

Meanwhile, development teams are gaining more authority from their line of business managers who realize that their organizations need to harness the immense amount of data they're collecting and use it for competitive advantage. They want to give developers the ability to provision, and deprovision, resources as they need them, and to develop applications faster than ever before. These managers are prepared to invest in tools that can enable their teams’ success.

The strategic role of storage in agile development

The reality is that developers don’t have time to wait for traditional IT anymore. They need tools and technologies that allow them to work at speed, in an agile manner – supporting, for example, rapid experimentation or the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning within their applications.

New methods of accelerating value through application development have emerged in the past few years. While pure public cloud strategies can be quick to deploy, they often lack the performance or governance requirements of other specialized deployments. Hybrid cloud strategies that focus on architecting applications to make the best use of resources, from multicloud, on-premises, remote sites, and even at the device edge, are enabling organizations to enact on data streams at every point in the workflow, greatly optimizing time to value.

Cloud-native application development has grown from largely stateless apps to more stateful applications within distributed systems, requiring the ability to rebalance data, auto-scale, and perform seamless upgrades -- all of which can become infinitely easier with persistent, reliable storage.

Exploiting data for competitive advantage

In addition to the flexibility it offers, software-defined storage can help organizations to better harness the value of data, including the continual stream of information and insights gleaned through their applications. Developers and data scientists need to be able to constantly extract, analyze, and react to data to maintain agility, and they can do that more easily with software-defined storage.

Whereas the siloed nature of traditional storage arrays and appliances can inhibit access to data, containerized, open source storage environments facilitate access, regardless of whether data is stored on-premises, at a remote site, at the edge, or in a public or multicloud.

Choosing an IT environment conducive to innovation

This raises a related but important point: many organizations believe the silver bullet to enterprise agility lies in the public cloud. In some cases, this is true, but the public cloud can pose a series of challenges itself. The sum of the “fixes” for these challenges can be costly.

It's no coincidence that there has been an upsurge in open source container-orchestration systems for application deployment, scaling, and management. Embracing hybrid cloud architecture enables organizations to create flexible infrastructure that suits their diverse business and governance requirements – helping them control costs without sacrificing agility.

Developers must differentiate themselves to stay competitive

Today’s developers are being given unfettered access to the tools and technologies they need to drive innovation and are visibly pushing their organizations and industries forward.

Attracted by growing career opportunities in software and application development, newcomers are flocking into the field – further increasing the pressure on the developer community.

Survival in this highly competitive environment is no small feat. Learning how to differentiate oneself and drive industry disruption consistently takes a high level of skill and determination. Equally, a successful developer needs infrastructure, services, and storage-native solutions that can match the speed of development.

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