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Why Enterprises are Considering Cloud

This need for accountability is where appropriately granular chargebacks or showbacks can help organizations internalize efficient use of resources and reduce costs, according to Gilmer.

“To the degree resource consumers are budgeted and recognize the cost of various service levels of storage capacity, they will tend to be incented to fundamentally recognize that they don’t have the financial resources to keep everything forever on high-performance, high-availability disk.”

“I would have to say that security is the number one concern we see with people being warned away from public cloud. Sitting closely behind this concern is the flexibility they need to manage their business.”
—Barbara Read, opportunity manager with IBM’s IT Optimization Consulting practice

While no one tool can help clients manage their storage resources, storage management suites offered by IBM and others contain the storage resource management toolsets needed to help clients maximize their storage utilization and manage data storage to the appropriate service levels to meet variable business requirements.

Hardware Options Abound

The hardware options available to clients setting up private cloud systems have grown in recent years, as have the compression and deduplication options available from storage management systems. Options such as solid-state drives and flash-based arrays are multitudes faster than even the fastest hard disk storage. And virtual tape systems, which use disk arrays to mimic the behavior of backup volumes that were until recently mostly taken care of by high-capacity 3592 or LTO* tapes and drives, are also options.

Gilmer says enough of a price differential still exists among flash, disk and tape that clients really must decide what system best fits their needs. “Part of the industry buzz is that the price of flash is rapidly dropping and eventually disk will be made obsolete. Well, they’ve been saying that about tape for a long time,” he says. “Now tape is in some ways being supplanted by different disk systems, but there’s still an awful lot of tape out there, and it has a really good application in certain scenarios.”

With all of the available offerings, clients can find solutions for their specific needs.

Optimization Equals Agility

Overall, both Gilmer and Read agree that despite the hullabaloo surrounding the concept of cloud storage, interested clients must be aware that it should be a part of a larger optimization effort. An optimized environment, if properly designed, can better utilize the storage they already have and avoid significant expenditures to acquire additional and potentially underutilized storage capacity.

“Sometimes we work with clients who want to be able to say they’ve put cloud within their infrastructure,” Gilmer says. “But at the end of the day, they need to continually evaluate and align those IT capabilities and resources in a cost-effective way so that they can stay competitive. One of the things that cloud does is really, as much as anything else, allow a lot of organizations more agility in the marketplace. But to rapidly and effectively implement new technology while maintaining ongoing business function is really the common challenge that we hear again and again.”

Joel Keller is a freelance writer who started his career as an IT specialist at IBM, where he worked for nine years before leaving to follow his passion for writing full time.



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