Storage options open up
Organisations are seeing a much greater range of options when it comes to storing and managing data, with more intelligence, more flexibility, and greater automation all on offer
The enterprise storage market in the Middle East continues to grow. Big data, archiving and the need for better data protection are just some of the drivers helping to increase demand. There are a number of new developments in storage technology, but Hema Abhilash, Technology Consultant at StorIT states that the most popular include cloud, virtualisation and software defined storage.
“The main reasons being they are proven solutions that can be easily integrated with the existing infrastructure and all of them have scalable architecture. These are the main game players in the so called third platform of IT evolution,” he explains.
Consolidation and scalability are high on procurers’ wishlists, agrees Sudheer Subramanian, IT Solutions Director at Huawei Enterprise Middle East.
“They are primarily looking for ways in which storage can be easily scalable in terms of capacity and performance. [Large enterprises also look for] a centralised storage solution to manage multiple clients’ virtual data centres,” he says.
Cloud computing is getting increasingly popular in the Middle East and is affecting storage buying considerations.
“Cloud is making storage buying choices more important as it requires the storage infrastructure to be more responsive and agile,” explains Swapna Subramani, Senior Research Analyst, Systems and Infrastructure Solutions, IDC MEA. “This is the reason enterprises are now increasingly looking at deploying future ready or cloud ready storage architectures that are scalable, fast and easily manageable.”
Companies are able to choose between private, public and hybrid clouds, the choice of model depending on costs and data use.
“If you want total control of your data and how it’s accessed, then you should build and manage your own virtualised IT platform and services (private cloud). If you don’t want that cost and responsibility, then hiring a piece of someone else’s cloud is probably your best option (public cloud). If you want to retain control of your business critical data but are happy to outsource non business-critical elements of your operation, then a hybrid model is what you should aim for,” says Fadi Kanafani, Regional Director Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, NetApp.
Kanafani believes that hybrid cloud is a very smart alternative going forward. By adopting a hybrid model, he says IT managers can still have their data under their complete control, relieving the stress associated with security, storage, and government requirements.
“I personally believe that the clear impact [of cloud] will be in the inevitable change in the storage value chain rather than the storage need itself or for that matter, the addressable market,” says Ahmed Muammar, Systems Engineer Lead, Gulf and Pakistan, EMC.
“We will see more and more enterprises moving to the hybrid cloud model where they get a portion of their data centre hosted somewhere in the cloud. EMC Federation respects this vision and in fact, believes it is the way forward,” he agrees.
Another term that appears to be talked about more and more is software defined storage (SDS). Vendors talk about its recent ‘emergence’, however, Gartner Research Director Valdis Filks considers the phrase a marketing construct.
“Many products that have been available for years have rebranded themselves as SDS. There are very few new SDS products. Storage companies like SDS as it provides more lock-in than disk arrays. Software is stickier than hardware,” he says.
Whether you agree or not, SDS as a concept is rising in interest and Aaron White, General Manager Middle East and Pakistan, Hitachi Data Systems, states that its goal should be to automate storage services to increase the return on total IT assets.