The well-respected, globally recognized market analyst firm IDC recently did a study to examine the business value of enterprise data storage. This is important because, despite the challenging economic climate, enterprises still need to buy, upgrade, and expand storage for their growing data infrastructure. Yet, what has changed is the increasing pressure to achieve a faster return on investment (ROI) amid tightening IT budgets.
The results of the analyst study are not only enlightening, but they also put a stake in the ground when it comes to business value from an enterprise customer perspective. Before sharing the results, I want to point out four areas that are vital for achieving a positive ROI on enterprise storage for data infrastructures.
First, the efficiency of enterprise storage management must be improved to have a data infrastructure that is both cost-effective and robust at the same time. This includes significantly improving data reduction functionality. Second, this improvement in efficiency must be tied to increasing agility in deploying the resources needed for business operations.
A third aspect is minimizing the effects of enterprise data storage-related unplanned downtime.
What this does is increase end-user productivity, which gets calculated into the business value of the storage solutions. Last, but not least, the performance of the storage platform must improve business results and operations.
But this is easier said than done, which is why most of the storage vendors struggle to deliver business value within one year, or less, that enterprise customers need in today’s turbulent economic environment.
A different way of thinking about storage and how storage is implemented is required.
As a buyer of enterprise storage, you face real cost challenges in updating the storage infrastructure as data volumes increase, in most instances exponentially. If you make the wrong decision and end up with a product that delivers a poor ROI or takes years to deliver a positive ROI, your decision may come back to haunt you.
Ways you can tell if a storage product may become a problem in the future are complexity, high overhead, the need for constant IT operations management, the lack of autonomous automation, the need for too many storage arrays, the lack of flexibility, the lack of flexible consumption models, hidden costs, and mediocre service and support.
In contrast, contributing factors to building a solution that delivers positive ROI for storage are ease of management, workload consolidation, autonomous automation, 100% availability, high performance, low latency, flexible consumption models (i.e. Capacity-On-Demand), scalability, a software-defined architecture with triple redundancy, built-in tools (i.e. analytics and AIOps), and cyber storage resilience, as well as first-rate remote monitoring with predictive capabilities.
Results of the IDC Study
The independent study that we commissioned was to analyze the business value of enterprise storage and was conducted by IDC, which did several in-depth interviews with enterprises using the InfiniBox® platform – with some of them also using the InfiniBox™ SSA all-flash system.
The white paper “The Business Value of Infinidat Storage,” details IDC’s findings that enterprises obtained significant business value from their InfiniBox storage solutions:
- Payback period of 11 months
- 162% five-year return on investment
- Annual average benefits per organization of $1.29 million ($166.7K per PB)
- Reduction of operational costs for storage infrastructure by 48%
These results from the independent analysis are particularly significant because, as the report concludes, “the cost effectiveness of the storage infrastructure takes on added importance in a challenging economic environment.” These numbers prove that quick wins with cost savings are possible today, as well as a very positive ROI over the life of storage arrays.
If an IT decision-maker needs to show a payback on investing in a new storage array, it’s now provable to be in only 11 months. It allows organizations to constrain costs, but still obtain the high performance, scalability, cyber storage resilience, and availability that are absolutely critical for the business. The more efficient storage infrastructure substantially reduces CAPEX and OPEX.
The study shows that cost-effectiveness can be maximized when the storage platform is software-defined and runs on commodity hardware to lower costs. There does not need to be custom hardware. Storing data in cost-effective HDDs helps to keep costs down. HDDs facilitate cost-effective, petabyte-scale storage and offset the cost of the DRAM modules and flash-based SSDs to offer a lower price per GB. Mixing and matching a hybrid storage system and an all-flash system can work to shift and replicate data between them in order to improve total cost of ownership.
And now, the calculation of the business value of such a mix and match has been done to validate it.