Enterprises Demand Next-Generation Data Storage

A Markets & Markets industry report on the next-generation data storage market emphasizes the real driving force behind recent storage innovations: enterprise customers are generating this demand. Enterprises around the world are looking for data storage solutions that combine high performance and scalability without sacrificing cost-efficiencies and operational ease of use. The report notes that this demand for performant next-generation data storage isn’t industry-specific but rather prevalent across all enterprise markets and segments.

Before I address a few of these recent innovations OpenDrives has been a part of creating, I would like to comment on what we really mean by the term enterprise, because the umbrella term encompasses businesses of many different sizes and complexities. What an enterprise is really depends on who is using and defining the term. A huge difference exists between an enterprise servicing a regional area within the U.S. (say, a gas-station chain spread across the southeastern portion of the country) and a multinational enterprise with a presence not only across the entire U.S. but across the globe (such as a major global energy company). Both are in the technical sense enterprises, but they are dissimilar in scale, revenue, and of course operational budgets.

The Definition of Enterprise

Let me define the concept in relation to an organization’s IT capabilities. The word enterprise might be descriptive of any company with an IT infrastructure above a certain level of complexity. As opposed to the small- and medium-sized businesses that probably don’t maintain their own complete IT infrastructures, an enterprise is one that must deploy and operate complex networks, applications, device and server pools, and storage systems to support a much larger number of employees, partners, customers, and transactions around the business.

So, in my example of the regional enterprise versus the multinational one, the difference isn’t in the level of IT complexity—they both have incredibly complex IT infrastructures consisting of virtualization, cloud capabilities, hot and cold standbys, and ERP/enterprise application solutions, not to mention tons of workstations, servers, and other digital devices—but rather in the total spend allocated to purchase, deploy, and support these IT tools. The regional enterprise doing a billion or two in annual revenue might budget $40M to $60M toward total IT expenditures each year while constantly trying to slash operational spend to keep their total margins higher, while the multinational enterprise doing $30B in annual revenue probably budgets upwards of $600M or more without quite the obsessive focus on keeping operational IT costs to a bare minimum.

Next-Generation Storage Helps Solve Budgeting Problems

The “smaller” enterprises such as the regional gas station chain referenced earlier have the same IT and technology challenges that the larger enterprises have, but they have a lot less budget, staff, and hiring/training capabilities to carry it all out effectively. I would contend that these enterprises are really the ones who are driving the need for innovative IT solutions, including data storage, that allow them to do more with less, to reduce complexities without sacrificing next-generation capabilities, and to administer their IT infrastructures without the need for an expensive and hard-to-recruit-and-train army of IT experts. If all this sounds a lot like your company, then the rest of my message is directed squarely at your pain points and needs, though it is still relevant to the much larger players as well.

At OpenDrives, we’re finding ways to help companies acquire and deploy high-performance appliance-like solutions incorporating their most critical enterprise applications containerized and running right on our storage platform. This approach has a number of benefits for the enterprises I just described at the lower end of the revenue spectrum, such as reduction in hardware needs (resulting in CapEx relief), performance boosts due to the applications residing literally right next to the data they consume (helping to dampen the effects of latency), and stronger interoperability between application and storage (due to the process of working with application providers to containerize their products). We’ve done the hard work upfront in terms of building an able platform, working with application providers, and then creating containers ready to run on our storage, and that’s a huge uplift because containers and containerization aren’t the easiest technologies to understand in the IT world.

Of course, we also provide other conveniences to reduce operational complexity while increasing overall utility, including automation and orchestration that make it easier to work with specific configurations of these containerized applications. Keep in mind that we at OpenDrives are experts in data storage and the workloads that enterprises like yours leverage to ingest, process, work with, and store enterprise data in the exercise of your own core business.

This is a conversation I’d really like to have with you if your company is earnestly looking for next-generation data storage to help keep your IT spend in check while expanding your data-handling and workload capabilities. Let’s have a chat and see what containerization combined with next-generation data storage can do for you.