|Top Storage Investment Priorities for 2009
Hu Yoshida, VP & CTO, Hitachi Data Systems
Although we're facing a continued economic downturn in 2009, the growth rate of storage and storage requirements is not abated. IT professionals are facing tightened budgets with very little capital, making it difficult for them to acquire new technologies.
Yet, whatever capital investments are made must be maximized to the fullest extent, which means they'll choose the storage solution that will best meet their needs while looking for a quick return on investment and a return on assets, or ROA. In this economy, it will be important for IT professionals to stick to the fundamentals and focus on ROA and the ability to break even quickly.
Below are storage investment priorities for IT professionals in 2009:
Virtualized Storage Services: One route IT professionals should look to in 2009 is the virtualization of external storage. By applying virtualized storage and combining it with lower-cost tiers of storage and thin provisioning, IT professionals will contain data growth while maximizing current investments for a quick return. Many installations are sitting on a goldmine of capacity, and on average, there is only 20%-30% utilization of existing storage. Virtualization of existing assets will help increase storage utilization.
Archiving for unstructured data growth: Ever-increasing data growth and dealing with the expansion of unstructured data remains a complex task in 2009. IT professionals will begin to see archiving as an imperative that maps back to the bottom line, as information is scattered and access is critical, tiering the information and moving it based on policies to purpose specific archive storage is critical to cost reduction.
Active archiving solutions will become more integral to an organization's information management initiatives and many organizations will move their tier two storage to this archival tier. Customers will want a solution that simplifies the management, reduces TCO and mitigates risk.
Data de-duplication: Given the current market conditions, companies will be keen to do more with less and any measure that helps the enterprise save costs and improve productivity will be in demand. For example, backup to disk and data de-duplication are key areas where customers can save money by pushing off and compressing the data and reducing the amount of times data is backed up, all of which adds up to cost savings around OPEX.
Risk Mitigation: There will always be a focus on mitigating risk when it comes to data centers and storage. Increasingly, however, companies are turning their heads to the bottom line and require solutions that help them to save on power and cooling costs, as well as solutions that provide an exceptional overall return on existing assets and on investment.
As we move forward into 2009, companies will seek storage solutions and services that help them maintain existing data, be it via archiving and locating that data.
Power and cooling: While we're no longer at the peak of energy costs, this pain point seems to be diminishing and the focus on power and cooling costs are no longer top of mind. It is important for IT professionals to keep in mind that things can change quickly, especially in the current economic environment. Having a green, and clean, data center is still a very real requirement. While the perceived pressure for this in 2009 may be easing, it is critical stay on course and get ahead of energy issues versus reacting to them.
Given upcoming regulations in EMEA and the increasing purchasing requirements in the U.S., everything we do, from improving efficiencies in the data center, improving power and cooling requirements, and building clean and green IT infrastructure will make the data center more energy efficient and improve the bottom line for years to come.