December 17, 2021

Article
3 min

Updated Storage Management Tools Deliver Multiple IT Benefits

Advances in storage solutions support better forecasting, performance and cost control.

Charles Salisbury

Many customers I’ve worked with recently are elevating their approach to storage management and reaping benefits across the board. 

Storage management has improved significantly in recent years, with new solutions and capabilities that improve control and visibility. At the same time, many of these organizations have experienced rapid growth in the amount and complexity of their data. They need solutions that help them not only manage but also fully leverage those data assets. 

Hybrid data center environments also prompt a rethinking of storage. When organizations have more options for managing workloads, they need the ability to evaluate them and to streamline oversight of configuration management, performance management, monitoring and financial management.

Storage Management Platforms for Single- and Multiple-Vendor Environments

A storage management platform brings all the relevant tools into one place, with a consistent workflow. Organizations with single-vendor solutions will use platforms built directly into the storage system. Tools designed for mixed environments let IT staffers gather information from several storage solutions for greater control. Both types of solutions provide a depth of visibility — all the way to the application level, for instance — that historically has been missing from storage management.

Improve Storage Forecasting and Modeling with Data Analytics

For years, the biggest challenge with storage has been forecasting. It’s never easy to figure out what an organization’s needs will be down the road.

Fortunately, some of the newer platforms can execute analytics that inform forecasting decisions. They can evaluate a variety of data points over time to determine, based on historical workloads, what projected growth will be. As organizations move from capital expenditure to operating expense models, this type of forecasting can significantly improve decision-making.

Similarly, some platforms can help organizations answer “what if” scenarios — for instance, how will a specific workload affect the storage environment? Organizations used to need an outside partner to solve that type of problem. Now, manufacturers are building that intelligence into their platforms.

Control Budgets and Tighten Security with Better Storage Management

Getting storage right is essential to controlling data center costs. If an organization doesn’t access certain data very often, for instance, that data doesn’t need to be kept in the most expensive storage environment. Sensitive data — anything that requires special protection or timely treatment from a compliance perspective — also has certain requirements. Some storage solutions have streamlined the process of compliance classification and reporting, which helps lower costs.

Organizations are also evaluating storage solutions in terms of how they would fit into future cloud strategies. A company might have application data it wants to make cloud-native eventually, but in the meantime it needs to determine the best way to manage that unstructured data. Better forecasting helps here too, by enabling organizations to do financial modeling for a variety of cloud versus on-premises scenarios. 

Enhanced visibility also improves security, providing better audit trails into storage configurations and automated monitoring to ensure systems are in optimal health. Management platforms that provide health checks and recommendation engines can flag questionable configurations and alert IT teams of suspicious activity.

Story by Charles Salisbury

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