We think that data mobility allows people to stay connected while offsite, but it is actually the data that does the roaming. Data is no longer something static that sits on a hard drive. Data is dynamic, and this makes it harder to manage, control and protect.
This is a challenge for businesses, but it also offers opportunities for vendors, distributors and VARs. Remote-office consolidation is one of the main motives behind storage technology investment. Businesses with more than one location are struggling to manage data costs.
People now work from numerous branch offices, across multiple areas and from home. This means there is a lot of content hurtling across networks, the internet, on laptops, home PCs and even memory sticks. The biggest challenge that organisations face today is ensuring that all of this remotely held data is managed, stored, replicated and is accessible according to company policy and external regulations.
Some vendors offer solutions that allow backup from remote sites, so at least legislation can be complied with. But this is only a very small part of what businesses want to achieve.
So why put data, as well as servers, applications, storage and backup devices in remote offices? The answer is simple: because the network performance between the hub and the remote office has not been capable of delivering LAN performance.
Remote-office consolidation can provide a complete set of products and services that help customers consolidate, optimise and protect remote-office applications. Data storage technologies no longer need to be held at each remote site. The data can now be held centrally and accessed from any remote site, at LAN speed.
The return on investment for a remote-office consolidation is very fast, but data and application migration, server and storage consolidation and recovery procedures all require careful planning and execution. For the VAR looking to lead the pack and deliver extra value and services, remote-office consolidation offers a good opportunity.
For the first time the SAN can truly be ‘enterprise-wide’. Centralising data from these sites will continue to be at the forefront of every company’s data-management concerns, which means it will be less of a remote chance and more an opportunity for the VAR.
Robin Pilcher is director of EMEA marketing at McData.
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