SSD based on Flash memory is now being used in products aimed at the enterprise. This type of storage is seen as offering organisations enormous opportunities to improve performance for their critical applications.
When you can increase the number of transactions that you can support, the business advantage should be obvious. But how should you look at business continuity?
Any new storage platform will have some impact on continuity planning for the customer. Even if it is a straight swap between products, business continuity plans will still have to be updated.
However, bringing in SSD storage arrays will require more planning than a typical upgrade. If the new arrays are not part of a broader rollout, customers may find that their new, faster platform is not protected – unless they think ahead.
There is an additional services and consulting opportunity for channel providers here. SSD sales should be part of a wider plan that futureproofs any investment from a continuity perspective.
How might customers look to implement SSD as part of their storage strategy? The first option is to migrate wholesale to these new platforms.
But while they certainly offer better performance and the cost to deploy is coming down rapidly, there is still some reluctance to bet everything on SSD from a reliability point of view.
Wholesale changes tend to be expensive as well, so the customer has to set aside more of the budget.
The second option is to implement arrays simply to support critical applications. This is the route that most customers will take at the moment.
However, asking customers about their continuity strategy as part of the move should give partners a chance to provide them with advice on how their current approach might support these new additions.
If they are relying on their storage platform to replicate data, they will need advice on how to protect their data across multiple platforms.
Simplify continuity planning by using one offering to protect and replicate data across multiple platforms. This strategy is also independent of the server or virtualisation of their new infrastructure.
Selling continuity as part of such a storage strategy can also have more immediate benefits. Rather than seeing business continuity or disaster recovery tools merely as insurance in case something goes wrong, you can use them during the migration period as well.
By replicating existing data to the new storage platform, the potential downtime during the project can be reduced.
Ask what the customer will be doing with any old storage products, which might have been a substantial investment in their own right. Customers could look at recycling their old storage as part of their business continuity strategy, and make their previous investment go further.
This approach may not offer the chance of a so-called big bang project. However, when cost-saving opportunities are always welcome, such strategies can add sales or at least ensure you continue to be seen as a relevant and trusted partner as well.
Ian Masters is Northern Europe sales director at Vision Solutions
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