A World of Difference Without a World of Pain

When you live in an older house, where the layout doesn’t really work for the way you live your life and there aren’t enough closets to satiate your wife’s shoe fetish, maybe it’s time to modernize! But do you knock the whole house down and start again? Maybe it’s tempting but, what about the investment that you’ve already made in your home? The bathroom you had refitted last year or the wiring you had redone? And where are you going to live during the whole inevitably elongated process?

It’s similar when you want to modernize your IT infrastructure: you have money sunk into your existing technology – probably still amortized for a year or two into the future – and you don’t want to face the disruption of completely starting again. We call this investment hangover ‘tech debt’.

For many companies, this debt includes a strategy for data storage that takes advantage of a shrinking per-gig cost of storage that enables them to keep everything. And that data is probably stored primarily on spinning disk with some high-availability workloads on flash in their primary data center. The old way of doing things was to see volumes of data growing and address that on a point basis with more spinning disk.

But, just like the house we mentioned earlier, data centers are bursting at the seams and it’s now time to modernize – but how?

The first step is to get smart. Do you need more space or do you need to de-clutter? At EMC World today, we launched EMC Enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM), a new tool to help our customers manage the spiraling volume of copies of data that businesses are creating, which drives storage costs through the roof. In fact, this is forecasted to be a $50B business problem by 2018. Backup, disaster recovery, long-term retention, local recovery, sandboxing, patch testing, test/dev, analytics; there are so many reasons for creating copies of data in today’s businesses – but what happens to the data once it’s served its purpose? And is the data you still need on the right platform to meet SLOs efficiently and cost effectively? EMC eCDM helps customers make sure they have the right number of copies of data, in the right place and on the right storage platform across all data centers.

But which storage platform is that? This is the year of all flash, part of the foundation for a modern data center – and the second step is to modernize storage platforms. In 2014, we revolutionized our enterprise storage platform with the launch of VMAX3, separating hardware from the software that powers it and also launched XtremIO as our first purpose-built all-flash array. Earlier this year, we extended our leadership position in flash by introducing VMAX All Flash. Redesigned for all flash, and now the biggest all-flash array on the planet, VMAX offers a simplified process for purchasing, configuring and migrating to all-flash arrays. Today, we launched EMC Unity to bring all of those benefits to SMEs and Enterprises with midsized IT needs too.

Unity sets a new standard for simple, modern, flexible and affordable arrays and is the first storage solution for midsized IT to be available as a purpose-built all-flash or hybrid storage array, a software-defined virtual appliance and as a converged solution as part of a VCE Vblock.

This changes everything for our SME customers. But we’re not expecting them to rip and replace their entire storage network. EMC customers can non-disruptively migrate to Unity, balancing their storage media against its SLOs.

So, while it can be tempting to look at a storage infrastructure that no longer meets your needs and chant ‘tear it down!’; it’s not always possible, it’s not always practical, and it’s certainly no longer necessary!

About the Author: Guy Churchward