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You need a storage strategy. Here’s how to get started.

You need a storage strategy. Here’s how to get started.

Chart your storage strategy 

Having been around the IT block a few times in my career, it strikes me that the industry in general, and storage specifically, are cyclical in nature. From centralized mainframes, to distributed client/server implementations and back again, much of the forward motion depends on the technology available to support what are sometimes not new ideas, but better ways to innovate on their implementation. We’ve got to maximize the value of what we already have, while always keeping that watchful eye for what’s leading and bleeding, both technically and culturally.

Gartner (the world's leading information technology research and advisory company) has done a terrific job doing just that with their latest report on the evolving world of storage, the 2017 Strategic Roadmap for Storage. Take a look. They’ve tackled the issue from a hardware, software and cloud perspective, pointing out both realities and aspirations for organizations needing to reduce costs while increasing storage manageability and agility in the age of digital commerce. And it’s from a perspective that includes all the pertinent stakeholders—top-down infrastructure and operation planners, the growing demands of individual business units, as well as the needs of users and the available skill sets of storage implementers and managers of all stripes.

 Some Gartner key findings include:

  • New storage initiatives focus on the need for agility, automation and cost reduction, as evidenced by the high adoption of solid-state arrays and Hyperconverged Integrated Systems (HCIS), along with increasing interest in software-defined storage and drastically simplified integrated backup appliances.
  • Digital business and other new business initiatives often require changes in the culture between business units and IT operations; this highlights the challenges of skill set shortages in such areas as the evaluation and management of IT service providers.
  • Cloud storage continues to be a polarizing practice, with business more optimistic and IT more cautious, resulting in clashes and conflicts between tactical decisions and strategic movements.

Wow. Just those couple of key findings add multiple new dimensions to our data storage decisions, regardless of our organizations’ product, purpose or paradigm. They must now include such considerations as digital processing demands, available staff expertise, coordination between IT and business users and the need for operational automation. They must leverage the multiple storage technology options that make them both effective today, and viable in a future solution state.

To learn more about Gartner’s strategic roadmap for storage, you can read the full report here.

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