Why you should be selling all-flash and hybrid solutions to your customers in 2018 and beyond
The storage market is consolidating and changing. All-flash solutions are becoming feasible at scale and distinct tiers of customer capacity are blurring into hybrid solutions that join inhouse data centres to multiple clouds with software-defined storage (SDS).
As a trusted advisor, you need to think about your customers’ hardware choice, backplane architecture and applications adopted by their end users. Fortunately, these changes in the market for enterprise storage aren’t a limitation, but an opportunity. In a complex marketplace, the real business value is in your expertise – in assembling the ideal solution for your customer’s situation.
The challenges driving the storage sector now can only be solved by deep knowledge and critical thinking. It’s about provisioning resource-hungry applications when users are scattered around the world. It’s about joining disparate databases across sites while keeping the experience for users seamless. It’s not about the server room any more; the action has migrated to offsite data centres, the cloud, even multiple clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Today, enterprise data means hybrid IT.
Here are some reasons you may want to consider selling all-flash or hybrid solutions to your customers.
1. Storage no longer lives in a server cupboard
Even midsize businesses no longer store their data at a single physical site. 57% of businesses use cloud services in addition to their IT departments, and that’s without considering the ad-hoc Shadow IT in use by individual employees.
So far, so familiar. But in recent years there’s been another change: the lines are blurring between storage and the applications using it. Enterprise applications spanning thousands of people may store some data locally, some in a shared data centre, and yet more in the cloud. The old practice of keeping live data local and backups offsite isn’t the case any more, creating another problem: even with real-time data spread across sites, customers still expect – and deserve – SLA compliance for their application performance.
2. All-flash and hybrid solutions enable consistent QOS across enterprise storage
The software side has become known as SDS: software-defined storage. Explaining it to your clients is simple: by combining storage resources under one virtual roof, it brings both the advantages of local storage (sub-ms access times, low network latency, and precise control of resources) with those of cloud services: world-class infrastructure, high capacity and always on capacity.
3. Joining server, centre, and clouds in a consistent backplane
SDS services (there are several on the market) present both local and distant resources as a single seamless cloud to the application. Some vendors even offer service guarantees for this distributed environment. For customers, it means less worry about fees between local and cloud storage, while connecting multiple clouds across the enterprise without pain. For today’s corporate customer it’s a win-win.
4. Optimised by predictive analytics
Of course, SDS does more than stitch storage together. The best solutions use predictive look-ahead to resolve bottlenecks and common problems before they create latency issues – and some of the solutions in this space are very, very good at it.
Today’s all-flash solutions are robust. Presenting multiple physical storage units as a single seamless space for applications leads to an ultra-reliable resource that’s tolerant to faults and fully controllable by IT staff. In fact, some solutions give IT management easy-to-use dashboards and panels for keeping all the plates spinning.
5. All-flash solutions are now competitive with other media
The final customer benefit is the simplest: both on cost/performance calculation and actual unit price, all-flash storage is now realistically priced for enterprises. It comes in a range of capacities, from 3Tb to multi-petabyte solutions ready for your customers to use. The elegance of solid-state storage has always appealed to both technology partners and client IT departments; now, storage with no moving parts looks good to those in charge of budget and balance sheet, too.
With advantages like these, it’s hardly surprising so many enterprises are interested in SDS. Your customers among them. And if not, gently remind them they’re in the minority: 73% of companies plan to move towards a full SDS solution in the next two years.
Seamless and simple, hybrid IT like SDS with all-Flash makes both technological and business sense. High performance for user applications, and a strong business case for adoption. That’s what technology should be. And as a partner, it’s what you’re ideally placed to deliver.