Clean out the Clutter: Get more flash from 'Flash'

You might be spending your weekends doing a bit of spring cleaning at home as of late, but what about within your IT department?

You might be spending your weekends doing a bit of spring cleaning at home as of late, but what about within your IT department? Just as purging your garage of unnecessary clutter generally leads to a happier, more efficient environment, so does clearing out the junk from your data centres and storage systems.

Large IT operations are extensive environments, often with hundreds of servers supporting clients with a highly transactional and mission critical application. Users need maximum performance, which comes, in part, from lots of high-end storage systems filled with short-stroked drives. Often, organisations only utilise a small part of each drive’s capacity wasting energy and capacity storing backup copies.

The result is expensive and cumbersome.

Getting more out of flash

Enterprise grade flash has been one of the biggest storage innovations since the spinning disk, generating significantly less heat and noise and offering faster, more reliable and durable storage. While costs have come down in recent years, it is still more expensive than HDDs and has mostly been used for targeted performance needs. But what if there was a way to get more from flash?

Generating greater value from flash storage requires a strategic marriage with virtualised data. Application data is often inextricably bound to hardware, chaining organisations to 20th century physical infrastructure. Decoupling your data from the physical infrastructure through virtualisation and eliminating unnecessary copies frees your operations to use the data anytime, anywhere.

It also helps consolidate storage, reduces capacity requirements and leads to a more economically attractive use of flash. With virtualised data, you can began looking at flash storage in a new way – as a method of achieving greater application performance instead of letting storage dictate the business.

Organisations are always looking to simplify and improve the performance of IT operations. Copy data virtualisation gets to the root of the storage problem and offers a way to minimise the time spent on managing storage performance. As data virtualisation reduces the total amount of data stored, the capacity needs shrink and the value proposition for flash improves. Flash addresses data management, performance management, operational simplification and capacity/cost – a quadruple bonus for businesses.

With virtualised data, big bulky storage systems begin to disappear as do expensive backup software and servers. When organisations eliminate the segmented silos of data, they enjoy the advantages that flash delivers, including efficiency, reduced energy consumption and smaller storage footprints, without overloading expensive systems with data copies.

Virtualisation has the added value of being infrastructure agnostic which opens organisations to even greater agility. Deploying solutions to virtualise copy data within your organisation is akin to cleaning up the mess before a move. It works on any disk today and smoothly moves to flash tomorrow, which means it acts as the pivot in what can otherwise be a painful transition.

Established storage vendors initiated an infrastructure-centric approach to data management however, the next logical step is to treat the storage hardware as a commodity and take an application-centric and infrastructure-agnostic approach. This allows organisations to develop applications faster, create new SLA’s and utilise cloud services and storage more efficiently.

Budd Ilic is the regional manager, ANZ at Actifio