Editor’s note:Oracle held a Storage Innovation Summit in Lagos Nigeria yesterday,Tom Pegrume, Vice President Oracle Hardware Middle East and Africa gave this insight in the article below:
The price of running modern data centers is quickly rising. The astonishing amount of data that companies collect today coupled with a mounting need to convert this information into measurable business value quickly and effectively has seen enterprises fill server rooms with rows of expensive storage stacks working furiously to accommodate an army of data-processing applications. Given that the amount of data collected by businesses is expected to continue growing by 50 to 70 per cent each year, companies that content themselves to add current-day servers to their existing data center technologies will quickly find themselves in a financial struggle to support the upkeep of their IT infrastructure in the face of this growth, and lacking the floor space to even do so.
The key for businesses looking to remain competitive in an increasingly data-heavy world is therefore a more rapid, more powerful, and more space and cost-efficient storage solution. Andreas Olah, research analyst at IDC in EMEA agrees, saying that “Server density is increasing … driven by the need for lower power consumption and less datacenter floor space required while maintaining performance”.
The problem is that in past years storage systems were primarily designed as general-purpose solutions meant to work with as many applications as possible. While these presented attractive products to sell to customers operating across multiple industries, this “one size fits all” approach has left businesses with expansive IT infrastructures whose performance is encumbered by limited communication between applications and storage within the stack. Moreover, because these systems are standardized companies have been allocating a considerable portion of their time and budget on managing their integration into their in-house data centre architecture rather than investing into the growth of their practices.
In reality, each application in the stack is different and should therefore be treated as such. Some require high-performance support, others extreme security measures, while some even have varying operational requirements dependent on the time of year – for example, an energy provider’s performance demands are much higher during the work day than during the quiet late evening hours. To unlock more value from these tools, businesses will have to move past generic storage appliances and adopt engineered systems that marry application-aware storage solutions with storage-aware applications. These application engineered systems(AES) drive faster, more powerful IT by automating data management to an unprecedented degree while helping businesses reduce operating costs.
A storage device operating within an integrated AES solution is aware of the requirements that each application it supports will have before their request even reaches the storage controller. This co-engineering between application and storage leads to much faster query times and data processing. By running more efficient data compression technologies such as Hybrid Columnar Compression that can only be supported by these engineered systems, businesses can reduce the space required to store their data by up to10 times when compared with the compression rates of non-application aware systems.
Businesses require improved operational agility from their IT, and cannot afford to lose time dealing with bottlenecks in their mission-critical databases and applications. A major benefit of AES storage systems is their ability to automatically adjust to the changing requirements of data centre applications in real time. For companies, this pre-integrated interaction between applications and storage means that rather than using their employees’ time to manually treat labour-intensive IT issues they can instead focus on driving innovation and business growth.
While some businesses may prefer to build and manage their own storage systems, the disconnect between applications and the server will inevitably grow wider with every third party technology added to the stack. When one considers that two thirds of enterprise storage costs can be attributed to the time and manpower dedicated to managing these systems, this piecemeal approach risks becoming prohibitively expensive, especially when factoring in the cost of frequent system upgrades, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Not only does a fully-integrated AES solution help businesses bypass some of these costs, but because engineered applications automatically tune themselves to the stack and scale their functionality in response to system requirements they also leave room for significant performance enhancements down the road.
For businesses, investment in innovation drives progress. In today’s fast-moving economy, the seemingly endless trickle of money companies will spend to tune and manage their data centers would serve them better if reinvested towards achieving measurable market growth. By providing businesses with fully-integrated data storage and analysis capabilities, application-aware systems like AES, such as Oracle’s ZFS Storage ZS3, give them the self-managing
IT solution they will need to reduce their long-term IT investment and focus on achieving success in their respective fields. Furthermore, due to the dynamic relationship between application and software within these stacks, businesses will also benefit from dramatically improved data processing capability and speed.