Enterprise infrastructure is becoming more distributed, both in the cloud and across expanding IoT environments, and this is making it difficult to get the right data to the right people at the right time.
One of the key barriers to improved data delivery is storage networking. Whether the goal is to satisfy increasingly demanding customers or provide adequate service to a mobile, collaborative workforce, it’s becoming clear that traditional SAN and NAS architectures are no longer up to the job.
According to Shirish Phatak, founder and CEO of Talon Storage, the future clearly belongs to software-defined storage (SDS), since this is the only way to provide the level of functionality that modern data environments require at a cost the typical enterprise can afford. Not only does SDS eliminate the bottleneck at the storage controller when more capacity is added to the system, it provides the flexibility to extend access across distributed environments and add new features without having to configure and reconfigure resources on the hardware level. In this way, SDS creates the foundation for fully automated storage environments that will be necessary for the high-speed, high-volume, highly complex data loads of the future.
Many leading storage platforms are incorporating distributed service functionality as a core element. Quantum Corp. recently launched the newest iteration of its StorNext platform (StorNext 6) that aims to meet the needs of data ecosystems that span multiple time zones. Two key additions are the FlexSync and FlexSpace modules that provide automated data sync and global file repositories, respectively. These allow users to coordinate tasks like file replication and multi-instance data sharing so that up-to-data information can be accessed and distributed across the entire enterprise data footprint, all while maintaining QoS and bandwidth allocation based on the priority of the workload.
Meanwhile, a company called Elastifile recently came out of stealth with a “cross-cloud data fabric” that leverages Flash storage and software-defined technology to accommodate data and application bursting across hybrid clouds. The system creates a scale-out distributed file system capable of serving object and cloud storage tiers using a patented metadata model and advanced algorithms to provide 1-2 ms latency, even in noisy, multi-platform environments. As well, it offers deduplication, compression and snapshot shipping on a global basis, plus a consumption-based pricing model that the company says can cut TCO up to 90 percent compared to traditional arrays and cloud storage services.
But in this age of digitalization, even small firms are becoming global players. A company called Morro Systems is out with a data acceleration service that allows SMBs to sync, share, transfer and save unstructured data files across multiple locations. Dubbed the Morro Data Cached Cloud Service, the system does away with manual FTP processes and VPN setup to enable drag-and-drop functionality, while also providing a global file system under a single namespace that allows users to access all files regardless of location. It also provides internet outage resilience by making active files available even when links are down, plus at-rest encryption and continuous backup and recovery.
More than anything, lifting data architectures off of hardware has allowed the enterprise to supersede the limitations of the physical world to push data to wherever it’s needed. This offers a wealth of opportunities to tap into new markets, deliver advanced services, and overcome the barriers that stand in the way of communication and understanding.
In the very near future, the location of data will be a perfunctory concern at best, and the office or storefront will be wherever you happen to be at the moment.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.