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Cloud demands intelligent storage

By DANIEL THENGA, senior Netapp BDM at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

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Vendors, distributors, resellers, even hyperscalers themselves have been pushing the hybrid cloud over the past 18 months. Much of the impetus behind this has been the rapid need to digitally transform in a markedly different operating environment to the one that existed pre-2020. Much of the focus has been on selling solutions. But even though technology is important, it is also about forging lasting relationships with the customers themselves.

Think of cloud solutions providers as mobile phone manufacturers. None of the products are bad. But in some cases, they overstate what the products can do. Of course, the basics are covered. Every mobile phone can make calls, connect to the internet, and download apps. Similarly, every cloud provider delivers storage, access to data centres, and a selection of availability solutions.

The problem comes in is that many of these providers have focused on fixing problems that existed a decade ago. It has been a case of selling or upgrading traditional flash and disk high availability array pairs in traditional data centres with the cloud component bolted on as an afterthought. There is no cloud-first. Instead, it is a case of piggy-backing on the popularity of the hybrid cloud and trying to pigeonhole solutions wherever they can.

Invariably, this also results in customers having to deal with a complex, disconnected portfolio of products. There is no integrated experience between on-premises solutions and those in the cloud. But if businesses are serious about embracing the hybrid cloud, they must start pushing back and expect more of their service providers in whichever form they come. Using solutions that provide a universal experience regardless of the cloud environment (or on-premises implementations) used, must now be a fundamental imperative. Even more so when it comes to storage that extends across an increasingly complex landscape.

Choose wisely

We are all acutely aware of how quickly data is being generated. And when combined with existing data that has been accumulating for years on corporate databases, spread across disparate systems, companies must consider how best to optimise their data for a digital future.

This is where the concept of data tiering becomes important. Companies ingest, create, and generate more data than ever. And given the choice of storage options for this tiered data, there are many things to keep in mind. Decision-makers must keep the following mantra in mind:

“The right data, on the right cloud, at the right time in its lifecycle, at the right price, at the right service level.”

It is now about intelligent data management. This means that those service providers who have not evolved beyond managing the cloud as an afterthought, will simply be left behind. It is now about partnering with someone that has built the best platform for consolidated data management, both on-premises and in the cloud. And because this is about being partners, the service provider will be able to assist the customer in doing more than just setting up storage. It is about taking them on a journey to transform and be truly cloud-ready making the company future-proof when it comes to evolving technology.

Optimise above all

Using such a specialist partner can assist the organisation in storing, securing, and optimising the applications and data. It comes down to making sure that the data is in the right place, at the right time, and only available to the right people. So, whether storage is done on flash, on disk, in the cloud, a data centre, or a combination of these and other environments, the partner becomes the trusted resource to leverage on.

With this in place, organisations can build business relevance for their data and storage estates. With attention moving to collaboration and partnerships as opposed to dropping boxes, customers can realise the full value that the hybrid multi-cloud environment can provide them.

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