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October 20, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 3:12pm

Why storage matters

Storage used to be the poor relation of enterprise IT. Everyone needed it but it was hardly a central part of strategic thinking. But it is beginning to take a more central role for several reasons.

By John Oates

 

As more and more firms begin to realise the value of their data so they understand they need fast and reliable access to it. Big data projects require computing power but they also need infrastructure which allows instant access to up-to-date company data.

The arrival of Internet of Things projects will vastly increase the amount of data the average company holds and make this even more important.

For many industries regulation also plays a role.

Storage and back-up needs not just to work but to be auditable and to be shown to work to third parties.

Even if regulation is not an issue changing public attitudes mean that if anything goes wrong you will have to prove to customers that you had the right equipment and working practises in place.

For multi-national companies there is the added difficulty of ensuring that different regulations in different countries are followed.

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Difficulties over Privacy Shield mean you need to know exactly what is stored where and under which regulatory framework.

Another factor pushing storage to centre stage is that stored data is now a target for hackers. Ransomware and corporate espionage or even politically motivated hackers have all put the spotlight on more secure storage.

The difficulty for business is that just as demand is growing so the storage market is getting ever more complex.

The divide between on-premises and cloud storage is not just a binary choice. Many set-ups use a bewildering number of storage models for different parts of the business.

On-site systems probably still have a cloud-based component.

Such a set-up requires a sophisticated software management system.

This should offer at least some automation of basic tasks as well as a clear window on what data is going where. It also needs to be able to deal with a variety of cloud providers just as easily as it manages your own hardware.

But once you’ve got the management in place today’s storage infrastructure can offer far greater flexibility and functionality to the needs of the evolving business.

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