Exponential data growth, server and desktop virtualisation, databases, web 2.0 applications and high performance computing (HPC) are all contributing to new data management challenges.
Streaming and transactional data in particular drive new requirements for
storage infrastructure. Customers more than ever need the best solutions at the
Customers looking to compete globally must have fast access to data and that access must be able to scale quickly to handle unpredictable spikes in workloads.
Yet total cost of ownership must remain low. A tough challenge, and one that vendors and the channel must tackle together.
Storage, a $40bn industry, is going through a shift similar to that of the server market in the mid-90s. Customers want state-of-the-art storage systems with open architectures and easy deployment.
Turmoil in the financial markets means total cost of ownership has never been so important and will continue to be critical for buying decisions made this year.
Open storage offers businesses something totally different and has already begun to completely revolutionise the storage landscape.
Open storage enables customers to freely mix and match datacentre components to produce systems that can be re-purposed simply by adding software.
We think that users of such systems can accelerate their business growth and save up to 90 per cent on their storage costs, when compared with closed, proprietary storage.
Cost is not the only issue. UK datacentres are running out of space, especially in London. Ensuring companies are able to cope with increasing amounts of data is not only a storage issue but a disaster aversion strategy.
The network is the computer, and we are just beginning this next evolution of the internet and delivering software as a service (SaaS). The cloud also offers remote storage. Vast datacentres linked to the internet can become available for everyone to use.
Enterprises are investigating the opportunities and look to technology partners to help them gain efficiencies through cloud computing.
However, the cloud is not the solution for companies that have high-transaction databases or temporary storage. It can make sense, conversely, for a company with unpredictable storage demands, a need for an inexpensive storage tier or a low-cost, long-term archive.
The storage market is evolving, driven by customer demand and a need to make every penny count in uncertain economic times. The channel has a vital role to play and can in part, along with the vendors it works with, help shape the future of the storage industry.
Kim Jones is UK managing director at Sun Microsystems
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