Why you should be rethinking your storage strategy

5 Storage Trends IT Leaders Need to Know & Why You Should be rethinking your Storage Strategy

Data is the lifeblood of your organization, so you need to find the most efficient ways of storing and accessing it. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Global Data and Analytics Survey, 39% of executives surveyed considered themselves highly data-driven decision makers. 36% of these decision makers use prescriptive analytics to forecast trends that affect business processes and customer behavior. To maintain a competitive edge, your business needs to take advantage of the profitable insights mined from big data.

Today’s storage innovations help companies make the most of big data. This eBook explores 5 trends that are expanding the capabilities of storage infrastructures:

– Object Based Storage
– Cold Storage & Archiving
– Real-time Data Analytics
– Converged & Hyperconverged Infrastructure
– Automated Storage Tiering
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Empowering SAP HANA and Use Cases

Take advantage of IBM Power System’s enterprise-grade attributes. Flexibility, resiliency and performance.

Power System Users can now take advantage of SAP HANA based applications, including S/4HANA, without a separate technology platform

For some insight on how SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems and Vicom Computer Services, Inc. can benefit your organization:

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What is your Security Team Focused On

A Platform with Actionable Security Intelligence

Data is the life source of your organization. A breach in security could be catastrophic, let Vicom and IBM discuss how we can protect the vital asset of your organization. IBM® QRadar® Security Intelligence Platform provides a unified architecture for integrating security information and event management (SIEM), log management, anomaly detection, incident forensics, incident response, and configuration and vulnerability management.

TRANSFORM SEAMLESSLY

– Risk & Vulnerability Management
– Incident Forensics
– Advanced Threat Protection

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On the Fence About Hybrid Cloud See if it’s right for you

Let Vicom help you optimize IT Transformation using the ideal mix of existing technologies & the Cloud

Get the facts about Capacity Expansion, Back-up & Disaster Recovery, Consolidating Complex Environments, and more using Hybrid Cloud. Sign up today to access any of our white papers or use cases, and get your free Health check. What will it cost you? Nothing but the time it takes to get real insights from Vicom, IBM and VMware experts.

Accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption together

  • Maximize your technology results so your business performs at optimal capacity
  • Our experts will help you anticipate, automate, and execute with ease
  • Get a customized migration plan
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The Gartner Symposium

The Gartner Symposium/ITXPO is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and Senior IT Executives, providing a strategic view on the trends that are shaping IT and businesses. This year, we are happy to announce that our own CTO Amitava Das will be attending the Orlando event October 16 through the 20th.

Das will be available to answer any and all of your questions, including

  • Discussing technology trends one on one
  • Hear the direction we here at Vicom are taking our technology solutions
  • Explore the various ways to transform your IT operations seamlessly

If you’d like to meet with Das at the Gartner Symposium, please send him an email to coordinate a time and place to meet.

From the cloud to the data center to staffing, Vicom can cover your entire organization’s IT infrastructure needs.

For over 30 years we have partnered with the leading names in data center hardware, software, cloud, security, management and more to provide our customers with the best in new technologies.

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IT Operations: Keeping Pace with Business Challenges

With ever-increasing business demand for growth, productivity, and security, IT Operations is presented with lots of challenges. The shifting technology for Dev Ops, Cloud, Mobile… such as Internet of Things, its difficult for IT operations to keep up with unprecedented volume of data.  They’re unable to detect outages faster and unable to resolve issues quicker, resulting in a negative business impact and possible… potential client dissatisfaction.

DISCOVER VICOM

  • Design and Deliver Industry leading IT Operations and Service Mgmt Solutions
  • Improve efficiency, reduce business impact and thus improve client satisfaction
  • Vicom Enterprise Blackout Manager complements IBM’s Netcool and impact solutions that helps to manage the scale of outages efficiently

SCHEDULE AN ASSESSMENT

Transform Seamlessly

Let Vicom help you optimize IT transformation using the ideal mix of existing technologies and the Cloud

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New Trends in the Evolution of Data Analytics

Trends that Are Changing the Face of Data Analytics
Data analytics are evolving beyond the capabilities of hard drive storage. Analytics trends include prescriptive, cognitive, real-time, and security analytics.

The C-suite recognizes that data analytics are the key to making profitable business decisions. KPMG’s 2016 CEO Outlook Survey found that data and analytics are one of the top 3 priorities for the next 3 years. IDG discovered the number of companies that have conducted data-driven projects had increased 125%.

As data analytics becomes more crucial for business success, analytics are evolving to become increasingly sophisticated. Analytics applications demand superior performance from storage solutions to mine and process data for deeper insights. Older hard disk architectures struggle to provide the speed and low latency that are required to keep analytics applications up and running.

To keep with the latest evolution in data analytics, your business needs to rethink your approach to storage. Examining current trends in data analytics shows how its capabilities and role in improving business processes has transformed.

Moving from Predictive to Prescriptive Analytics
Prescriptive analytics take your business a step beyond predictive analytics by suggesting possible courses of action. It uses the insights from predictive analytics—which takes raw data and forecasts future trends—and builds on the predictions to create actionable next steps. After testing for the outcome of several options, you can choose the best new business process.

Jim Hare of Gartner argues that prescriptive analytics helps take the risk out of making crucial decisions. Instead of making gut decisions or ereducated guesses, leaders can examine the probability of a particular outcome.

The Rise of Cognitive Analytics
The most advanced analytics are cognitive analytics, which can use data to learn and reason. Cognitive analytics are modeled after how the human brain works. Instead working from established policies, cognitive systems can draw from data to create their own hypotheses.

With natural language processing, cognitive analytics can draw associations between pieces of unstructured data, such as social media conversations, emails, and medical records. The system can also understand requests, a skill that was demonstrated when IBM Watson won Jeopardy!

Cognitive systems are capable of basing decisions on knowledge gained from encyclopedic amounts of information. For instance, a cognitive system can handle data streaming in from every business process and transaction.

Increasing Demand for Real-time Data Analytics
Trends in data analytics are not just about expanding what can be done with data. Data analytics are also about extracting value from data faster. Real-time analytics processes data as it is generated. Backed by these insights, your business can adapt to trends as they emerge.

As soon as you see changes in customer behavior, you can provide products and services that meet their needs. Customers can even be given recommendations during a transaction. Seeing the immediate results of your marketing helps you design a more effective strategy. If problems develop in your operations, you can fix them right away before they snowball and cost your business money.

Using Data Analytics for Cyber Security
Real-time analytics can be part of a proactive data security strategy. Analytics applications can monitor data traffic and detect threat signatures or anomalies that would indicate unauthorized access. The faster your business detects malicious traffic, the more likely you are to stop hackers in their tracks.

The International Institute of Analytics declares that data analytics will be an instrumental part of threat detection, prediction, and prevention. After all, cyber criminals are experts at changing tactics to catch you off guard. Predictive security analytics enable you to predict the shape of future threats.

Finding a Highly-evolved Storage Solution
To meet the performance demands of today’s analytics, your business needs to look beyond hard drive storage. Software-defined storage enables companies to process more data, more quickly. Detaching storage from the hardware layer allows your business to access flash capabilities with commodity hardware.

IBM Spectrum Storage is a leader in software-defined storage. Last year, the launch of Spectrum Storage was part of IBM’s $1 billion investment in storage software aimed at creating the most efficient and manageable solutions. With Spectrum Scale, you can accelerate your input/output rates up to 6x to accommodate the performance needs of advanced analytics applications.

As an IBM partner, Vicom can show you how Spectrum Storage fits into your business. Our experienced IT architects work with your business to assess, design, and implement state-of-the-art data centers.

Finding a New Answer to Data Center Sprawl

The growing quality, amount, and variety of data continues to challenge the capacity of data centers. Trends like increased mobile use and the Internet of Things are driving data traffic. Every transaction a customer makes on a smartphone generates data. Every sensor on a device in your home or in your city’s infrastructure generates data. All of this data means something.
For this data to be put to use, it needs to be stored somewhere. As a result, IT leaders are scrambling to find efficient ways to increase data center capacity. To avoid the risk of falling short, they provision new hardware to meet anticipated capacity needs, creating server sprawl. Unfortunately, this only adds to the problem.
The challenge IT leaders face is finding a way to expand storage capacity without draining their resources and adding to the ever-multiplying server footprint.

Virtualization Sprawl

Limited resources and increasing operating expenses, such as floor space, power, and cooling have driven companies towards virtualization. Virtualization seems like a magic bullet at first. Underutilized servers could be optimized by creating virtual machines (VMs) that run multiple operating systems. This reduces not only the total number of physical machines needed, but also the data center’s power and cooling costs.
Unfortunately, virtualization created its own version of sprawl. Virtual machines are so easy to create that any reduction in physical servers was cancelled out by the proliferation of VMs. In some cases, the proliferation becomes so rampant that administrators lose track of the virtual machines and face other challenges.

The Toll of Virtualization Sprawl

Virtualization sprawl impacts many aspects of a business–and its bottom line.
• Underutilization: Like physical servers, the VMs may be underutilized, making them a liability rather than an asset. Dormant VMs join the ranks of zombie or comatose servers that take up data center resources but no longer fulfill any function. What is the use of optimizing a server that isn’t being used? Instead, these servers could be decommissioned, saving you data center space.
• Licensing and Management Costs: Each one of these VMs requires software licensing and management tools that cost money. As a result, redundant machines may waste thousands of dollars that could be invested in upgrading your infrastructure.
• Resource Overload: Aside from monetary costs, virtualization sprawl taxes your staff and network resources. Eventually, the network administrator may not be able to effectively manage the large number of VMs. Administrators need to control allocations, resources usage, and permissions for these VMs. They also need to troubleshoot for the host server.
• Security Concerns: Virtualization sprawl also creates security problems. Automatic patching systems may not recognize an offline VM, causing it to miss out on important updates. Even though the VM isn’t being used, it can be used as a gateway to infiltrate your business.
What if it was possible to consolidate your storage while truly eliminating sprawl?

Achieving True Storage Consolidation

The key to storage consolidation is breaking away from the hard disk drive model of storage infrastructure. True consolidation can be achieved in 2 ways:
1) The storage device can provide greater capacity in a smaller package. Replacing hard disk drives with higher capacity storage will lessen the need to provision more servers, saving you infrastructure costs. Reducing the amount of racks needed for storage means a smaller, more efficient data center.
2) The information can be made more concise so it takes less space to store. Better data management through deduplication and compression reduces the amount of servers needed to store critical data.
The ideal solution to server sprawl would encompass both of these consolidation methods. Resorting to virtualization as a solution doesn’t provide these consolidation benefits because it relies on the same hard disk drive architecture.

High Storage Capacity in a Small Package

The storage solution that fits both these criteria is IBM’s Flash storage takes up less rack space than hard disk drives, reducing the data center footprint. This economy of size is coupled with high-performance and capacity. In fact, the capacity of flash storage continues to grow, with experts predicting it may reach 30 terabytes per solid-state drive by 2018.
Flash’s smaller footprint reduces energy and cooling costs, as flash runs cooler than hard disk drives.
Flash also provides data reduction tools to further optimize your storage, such as deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning. Snapshots and clones can also be used to reduce the storage space needed for the customer data that is crucial for profitable decision making.
Using flash storage will cure the problem of data center sprawl without creating the side effects of over-virtualization. Flash storage reduces your data center footprint without sacrificing capacity or performance. Built-in data management tools will even reduce administration costs and speed you to profitable insights.

Say goodbye to server sprawl by exploring flash storage with Vicom’s free consultation.

Where have Others done it before?

I am constantly out talking with different organizations and our customers about their business issues and IT challenges, as well as the IT trends we see happening. It is our hope that this helps to give them some clarity when it comes to their own IT environments. And we can all use some clarity (see older post on that here). We all know our industry is so dynamic where things are constantly changing and I’ve made the argument in other posts that that is one of the reasons why many of us are in IT: specifically because it’s always changing. I enjoy being part of in an industry that is constantly evolving where new solutions and methodologies are the mainstay for what we do day in and day out. There’s also no hours anymore in what we do, as the technology services that IT provides need to be up and available for the organizations they serve 24×7. Whether that takes a few hours to do, or all day, it needs to be done. And a great way to get clarity on your journey (as it really isn’t destination, as it’s never complete or done) is to understand where you key strategic partners have done it before.

We encourage our customers to talk with and network with similar organizations in similar industries so that they know what others are doing in terms of the types of challenges and issues they experience. There’s great value in this, and we all know it’s a prudent thing to do for knowledge, opportunities, and for networking. We also encourage meeting and talking with peers in different industries. This helps to stimulate ideas from outside of your industry and gets people thinking in different ways. Everyone in your industry might have similar ways to address a problem/challenge/issue/opportunity because the thinking is overarched by the same industry you all share. But others will have different perspectives and it’s these different perspectives that can be very refreshing and get people’s wheels turning to help reinforce or stimulate different thinking. The organizations we work with find this extremely valuable. And they should. We can’t know it all, so let’s see how and what others are doing and where they’ve done it before.

At our organization we hold roundtable sessions, lunches, dinners and other events with the specific purpose of getting our customers together outside of their office environments so that they can meet and network with peers specifically in other industries. The whole goal is to get people together to allow them to build bridges, network and share ideas. We facilitate and arrange topics of discussion but these sessions and conversations take on a life of their own – and we encourage and want that. This is not a sales discussion but a meeting in a comfortable environment to share, network and learn with our technology and business leaders as conversation guides. Our customers have found it invaluable because they are able gain perspective and understand where others have done it before.

When working with our customers with their IT and business challenges (and that’s all IT is really for, isn’t it?) we come in and talk to them about our portfolio of the services and solutions we provide. We’ve been doing this stuff for 34 years so we have an extensive portfolio. But what’s most important and what customers truly want to understand is not just what we do, but where we’ve done it before. And that’s exactly how it should be.

I even joke with organizations when we are telling them about the things we do that we understand that it’s all just words until you have a chance to experience our services and solutions, so take whatever we say with a grain of salt. Because while what we say we can do is important, the real value is where we’ve done it before. That’s true value. And that what our customers want to know about.

An example:
A few months ago we met with mid-sized organization to discuss our services and solution capabilities. We presented our capabilities and then talked about the dozens of other organizations we’ve worked with before specifically around the challenge they were having and how we helped them. We found out afterwards that a few days before our presentation that another organization had come in to talk to them about their capabilities as well. The customer that the other organization gave a great presentation, but they only talked about what they can do, and not where they done it before. Which organization would you prefer to work with? The one that talks about what they can do or the one that talks about what they do and where they done it before. The old adage is so true: the “proof is in the pudding”. And we see situations like this all the time.

So what’s the message here?
When working with your partners, make sure you have a small ecosystem of great partners that you can truly rely on – I’ve talked about that throughout my blog over the years. It’s so important to understand all that they do – again, I’ve I I’ve talked about that ad nauseam as well. But make sure you have a very good and deep understanding as to where they’ve done it before. Where they have worked with similar customers, with similar challenges, and how they help to address them. Demand that of partners and they will step up. And if they don’t have extensive experience in an area, they will be open and honest around that too. But I believe it’s the most powerful thing your partners bring to the table for you in terms of value. Their solutions, their services, their experiences and, most importantly, where they done it before.

Andy Jonak
ajonak@vicomnet.com