Storage Networks

Memo from the Future: Ensure Your Data Center is Ready for 2020 Demands

by Jim Rapoza on ‎04-21-2015 12:01 AM (12,505 Views)

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(Dateline: A major enterprise data center, in the year 2020) Running an enterprise storage network sure is a lot different than it used to be. Back in the old days (circa 2015) we were mainly concerned with our traditional data center, keeping the big iron storage up and running and ensuring our networks were fast enough to handle regular backup and restore requests.

 

Now those days look like the stone-age. Software defined? Forget about it. The storage infrastructures of 2020 are way beyond that, pulling in massive amounts of data in real-time, making it constantly accessible to a variety of analytics tools and applications, and doing so across locations and geographies on fast and flexible networks and virtual storage infrastructures.

 

Of course, it wasn’t easy to get to this point, and organizations that didn’t prepare their data centers years ago took it on the chin, especially during the devastating Internet of Things data crash of 2017. Yep, we saw a lot of businesses lose money and resources when it turned out that their aging storage and network infrastructures weren’t ready to handle the demand that came from millions of little devices sending mountains of data every second.

 

Fortunately, my organization was getting ready for these emerging trends and challenges way back in 2015. We were building high speed and dedicated IP networks for storage that allowed us to more effectively manage data demands and ensure high reliability and improved time to revenue. The many locations of our business were intelligently connected to allow for non-stop business continuity, making it possible for the company to continue to do business even when major disasters shut down connectivity to headquarters. And, we were ensuring that all of our key data center, network and storage equipment was ready for a world defined by apps and other software.

 

With these measures in place we were able to take on the many big data challenges that emerged over the ensuing years.

 

Business intelligence utilizing cognitive computing to answer the big questions and challenges of the day? Our powerful storage infrastructure was able to store EVERY bit of data and make it quickly available to these powerful analytics systems.

End-users enabled with increasingly powerful mobile devices, along with wearables like smart watches? We kept all of their data safe and ensured that these users had the always-on experience that they expect from every application and service.

 

And of course, millions of IoT devices sending telemetric data that turned out to be vital to our business operations? Our data center and storage infrastructure not only handled the demand, we were able to take all of that data and leverage it to make our business the success it is today.

 

Unfortunately, not all organizations were as well prepared. I remember having drinks with a few devastated colleagues of mine who related the disasters that occurred at their businesses. There was Andreas, whose company had tried to run a storage infrastructure that was connected over their standard Ethernet network. As data demand grew astronomically, his networks were quickly overwhelmed, leading to lots of downtime, low productivity and lost business opportunities. Or there was Shahida who took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and stuck with an old, out of date storage infrastructure. Her organization continually failed to leverage new technology of the day, from big data to virtual infrastructure to Software Defined Networking. Eventually they were no longer able to keep up with competitors and they soon went out of business.

 

Yep, there were definitely a few cautionary tales out there. But for businesses like mine, the last five years turned out to be a great opportunity. Because we built a flexible, high performing and reliable storage infrastructure back in 2015, we were able to quickly adopt new technologies as they matured and weather the data demands that these new technologies brought.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to make sure that our storage infrastructure will be ready for what 2025 might bring.