Future-Proofing Your Data Center Storage

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1 A Custom Technology Adoption Profile Commissioned By HP October 2012 Introduction For years, organizations have made hard choices on storage spending in the face of high growth as well as high sensitivity to outages and data loss. Data grows as a result of more customers and transactions, fatter applications and protocols, increased regulations, more redundancy for better data protection, digitization of paper processes, brand-new workloads, and a host of other reasons. Regardless of the source of data growth though, firms face increased storage spending as a result. Existing budgets may have expanded to keep pace, or they may be a barrier to continued growth of the business, but juggling the need to grow and innovate with the desire to shrink costs is a challenging decision point for most every business. To dig deeper on this topic, HP commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey IT hardware decision-makers in North America about their storage requirements for this Technology Adoption Profile (TAP). The data shows that the time is now for firms to reduce capital and operating expense through improved tools and processes where excess exists, while at the same time investing in increased flexibility and automation that can provide additional agility for businesses to respond to new opportunities quickly. Storage Capacity Is Growing Sharply, Along With Spending Storage is a commodity whose consumption generally moves in one direction up. Without archiving and deletion programs, most firms tend to just accumulate more data, and they have a significant fear of cleaning out the old. As applications get more advanced, storing more data per customer, transaction, or project, firms generally expect their storage to increase as well. While server technology has seen a significant revolution in flexibility and consumption from the increased use of virtualization, legacy storage technologies that are hard to manage and limited in flexibility and automation still dominate much of the data center. As a result, most storage systems continue to grow in spite of low utilization rates, leading to high costs both in absolute terms and in comparison with other categories of IT. Some data points related to these trends include the following: Storage represents a big portion of the overall IT budget. According to Forrester Forrsights surveys over several years, storage spending as a portion of overall IT spending has gone up significantly. In 2007, respondents to the survey attributed 10% of IT spending to storage, while in 2009 and 2010, that number went up to. In 2011 and 2012, the spending increase appears to have leveled off to, but it still represents a significant amount of money as well as a big percentage of what it takes to deliver IT. It also serves to combat assumptions about storage being cheap clearly, the components of storage have gone down in price with disk drives becoming denser and cheaper every year, but given the high rate of spending, the true cost of building redundant, high-performance storage environments along with the cost of staffing

2 those environments with qualified experts is still growing relative to total IT spend. See Figure 1 for data on storage as a portion of IT spend. The total volume of data has grown significantly. In Forrester s Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2012, 24% of respondents state that they have more than a petabyte of data. This is a significant jump from earlier years, when having a petabyte would put a firm into the higher realms of data footprint. Even discounting the complexity of managing data of many types for many purposes, just the fact that capacity numbers are high warrants careful attention to the platforms chosen and the efficiency of these platforms designed to address this huge amount of data under management. See Figure 2 for data on storage capacities. Data growth comes from business as usual as well as data protection and regulatory requirements. We asked respondents to describe the drivers of data growth within their environments. The top responses point to capturing more data per transaction, more retention for regulatory compliance, increased business reporting activities, and improvements in data protection that require more redundancy. The interesting fact of all these top responses is that they don t represent dramatic changes to business processes or workflows. Data growth comes from business as usual, combined with busier applications, more regulation, more reporting, and increased requirements for constant availability and zero data loss. Storage growth hasn t been driven primarily by special purpose workloads; this challenge is faced by most every firm in every industry and geography. Please see Figure 3 for data on causes of data growth. Figure 1 Storage Spending Represents A Significant Portion Of The IT Budget An Initial Spike Was Retrenched Into A High Rate Of Ongoing Spending What percentage of your firm s hardware/infrastructure IT budget will go to storage? 2012 (N = 1,224) 2011* (N = 1,564) 2010** (N = 1,472) 2009 (N = 1,435) 2007 (N = 896) 10% Base: 1,036 North American and European enterprise IT hardware decision-makers ( Don t know, Not on our agenda, and Low priority responses not shown) Source: Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2012; *Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2011; **Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2010; Forrester s Enterprise And SMB Hardware Survey, North America And Europe, Q3 2009; Forrester s Enterprise And SMB Hardware Survey, North America And Europe, Q Page 2

3 Figure 2 Storage Footprints Have Grown Dramatically How much data/information does your firm currently maintain? 10 PB or more 1 PB to 9 PB 100 TB to 999 TB 10 TB to 99 TB 1 TB to 9 TB 100 GB to 999 GB Less than 100 GB Overall/companywide Archiving, all forms, including compliance, discovery, and infrequently accessed data Database systems General file storage, including file servers Data warehousing, business intelligence, reporting, and analytics 'Big data' not otherwise captured in other options Server backups for disaster recovery and continuity Digital and web content repositories, such as video, audio, images, and web page Enterprise content management PC backups for disaster recovery and continuity Other data 1 13% 2 33% 14% 3% 3% 5% 5% 10% 1 20% 1 23% 27% 20% 9% 5% 10% 24% 34% 13% 5% 6% 4% 7% 14% 20% 16% 19% 13% 1 9% 6% 13% 25% 29% 1 5% 3% 16% 20% 19% 1 7% 3% 5% 1 13% % 1 5% 10% Source: Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q Base: 754 North American IT hardware decision-makers ( Don t know and None responses not shown) Figure 3 The Main Causes Of Data Growth Are Business As Usual Rather Than Outlier Events Why is the amount of data stored by your firm increasing? Please select the top three reasons. We are capturing more data per business activity than before Regulatory compliance and auditing requirements require us to keep more data than before We are generating more data warehousing, reports, and analytics on existing business data We have increased our replication and disaster recovery capabilities 34% We have increased use of audio and video data We haven't defined a data retention strategy, so we just save everything We just don't want to throw anything away 19% 2 2 The retention period for key business data or backups has lengthened We have increased PC backups We have embraced new 'Big Data' techniques that create and use more data We have increased website data collection and analytics 9% Other Don't know None of the above; the amount of data we store is not increasing Source: Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q Base: 754 North American IT hardware decision-makers Page 3

4 Future-Proof Your Data Center Storage Given the high spending and high growth in storage, it s time to evaluate your storage strategy to determine whether you can meet business needs within current approaches, or if changes are needed. Storage solutions that were adequate in a smaller-scale environment might not be suitable for the bigger data footprint you have after years of growth. The same can be said for supporting the move to virtualization and IT-as-a-service (ITaaS); storage that worked well for largely physical workloads does not tend to have the performance required to deal with consolidation of mixed applications on the same controllers. Whether you re a small-to-medium business or among the largest global enterprise firms, considering what you buy and who you buy it from will help ensure that you can meet your business needs without breaking the bank. Some key considerations include the following: Capacity efficiency needs improvement. We asked respondents what aspects of their current environment would need improvement to meet needs over the next five years: Capacity efficiency topped the list. Storage requires multiple copies of data for a variety of purposes: redundancy to prevent data loss, point-in-time copies for rolling back to previous versions, clones to easily propagate data, test copies, etc. All these copies increase the storage requirement for a given data set, as does the traditional allocation methods of most legacy storage systems. Newer storage technologies effectively protect data without using thick copies and can allocate storage more efficiently and flexibly without compromising safety. Consider these thin technologies to improve your firm s ability to address growth without overspending. See Figure 4 for data on key desired improvements in storage technology. Storage needs effective management tools across the whole environment. We asked storage experts about their desire for a consistent management toolset across block and file workloads, and 89% said that this would be at least a high priority in storage s. With the move toward object storage paradigms as well as the blurring of the lines between information protection and information archive, the traditional notions of unified or file/block storage may also be in need of review. Forrester sees management tools to be critical to storage environment success; the best storage technology improvements struggle to add value if you can t see what you have, who is using it, or make changes easily. In addition to improvements in the tools, we see the ability to address management in the underlying platforms themselves; building in self-managing and self-healing attributes enable IT resources to focus on higher-value projects. If you don t have these capabilities today, you should seriously consider them in your upcoming s. See Figure 5 for data on management toolsets. Consider vendor consolidation in your storage strategy. Variability of configurations presents a tremendous challenge to a consistent and manageable environment. Too many storage products from many vendors or separate product families make it much harder to deliver good results. Thinking about storage alongside of servers, network, and other gear serves to further complicate things, bringing about interest not just in fewer storage vendors but fewer IT vendors in general. We asked respondents how important it would be to have a broad vendor of storage, server, and network address their upcoming storage s, and 76% said that this would be at least a high priority. Look at the big picture and make sure that the storage you buy fits together with other aspects of infrastructure and will help support effective solutions for the workloads you prioritize. See Figure 6 for data on broad vendor purchasing. Page 4

5 Figure 4 Capacity Efficiency, Expansion, And Scalability Are Highly Ranked Storage Requirements Thinking about your expected storage requirements five years from now, which aspects of your current storage infrastructure will require improvement or expansion to meet those demands? Capacity Efficiency Data protection Capacity expansion and storage system scalability Cost Speed / flexibility of provisioning Data migration/mobility process Ability to meet varying application performance requirements Ease of use/automation Ability to handle mixed workloads None of the above, our storage environment will be adequate as it is now % 63% 56% 5 45% 3 34% Base: 100 North American IT hardware decision-makers Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of HP, September 2012 Figure 5 Respondents Favor Consistent Tools Across Cloud And A Broad Storage Provider When considering a storage, how valuable is it to your business to have a broad IT vendor that can provide storage solutions as well as server, network and management solutions? A nice to have but not a key driver in storage 2 Not a consideration in storage 3% The top element in storage 16% A high priority in storage 60% Base: 100 North American IT hardware decision-makers Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of HP, September 2012 Page 5

6 Figure 6 Respondents Favor Consolidation Of Vendors During Purchase When considering a storage, how valuable is it to your business to have a consistent, automated and simple set of tools across block, file, backup, and cloud environments? A nice to have but not a key driver in storage 19% Not a consideration in storage The top element in storage A high priority in storage 6 Base: 100 North American IT hardware decision-makers Source: a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of HP, September 2012 What It Means Storage has become a significant challenge for firms large and small due to data growth and complexity. The need for always-on, always-protected information access has increased the challenge and is not likely to abate any time soon. For any firm operating data center infrastructure, a well-defined storage strategy and careful attention to product selection are seen as critical to technology and business success. When defining this strategy and making storage decisions, consider the following: Reduce variability to improve service quality. When designing any complex IT solution, variability leads to errors and outages. In previous years, custom configurations were required to deliver effective results, but these days, standard architectures are capable of handling most workloads. Avoid the temptation to let historical heterogeneity continue. Instead, ruthlessly reducing variability by buying and configuring as consistently as possible, from as few vendors as possible, and prioritizing versatile architectures that fit many unpredictable workloads will lead to better business results. Consider manageability of individual products as well as variations among entry-level, midrange, and enterprise class products: Improve storage capacity efficiency with thin technologies. Many environments have struggled to keep pace with data growth and have accepted wasteful configurations in their environments. Recognize that you have to build redundancy into your storage configurations, which increases your capacity requirements. Prioritizing thin technologies in evaluations to safely and efficiently get the benefits of redundancy with far less capacity consumption is a proven and effective way to improve storage capacity efficiency. Focus on flexibility and agility in storage consideration. Storage is hard to manage, and the stakes are high. Small errors can lead to big negative consequences. Even if the lights stay on, taking too long to respond to business requests can lead IT to become a roadblock, and diminish trust. Buying storage systems with high Page 6

7 levels of automation, data mobility, easy scaling, effective reporting, and advanced efficiency features will support better results and turn IT into an enabler, rather than a detractor of business goals. Data has many types and access methods; get management tools that can handle them all. The landscape of data workloads has broadened significantly, with file, block, and object storage systems being deployed widely. Consider the benefits of a common toolset across these access methods as well as the various performance and availability levels you require. Given that data and applications change over time, the flexibility of common tools means that you will get more value out of your investment and that you will be able to adapt more quickly and effectively as the environment changes. Storage doesn t last forever; take refresh considerations into account. Buying and implementing storage is hard enough, but every three to seven years you have to refresh that equipment and migrate data from old to new. There s a great deal of risk and business disruption associated with this activity with traditional systems that require planned migration of data. Newer systems that offer data federation or virtualization support nondisruptive migration, and scale-out architectures allow for rolling refresh of elements of the system while it s up and running. Consider refresh process as a key aspect of selection criteria. 2012, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-LAG18H] Page 7

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