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Multi-cloud data storage becomes a 'must-have'

Enterprises typically have data spread across multiple locations, including multiple clouds. Vendors in turn should look to provide hybrid, multi-cloud and on-premises storage.

The recent release of a new Hitachi Vantara product highlights a large trend in enterprise data storage. Platforms must span beyond arrays and even individual sites, as multilocality storage has become table stakes for the modern enterprise environment.

Hitachi Vantara on Oct. 10 announced Virtual Storage Platform One, a multi-cloud storage platform that provides a single control plane, data fabric and data plane across block, file, object, cloud and mainframe protocols, according to the vendor. Hitachi Vantara's vision is to deliver a single software-defined storage stack that organizations can deploy anywhere, including the data center, public cloud and the edge. It also hopes to support any application type and simplify the protection and movement of applications and data.

Research from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group research investigating hybrid and multi-cloud strategies revealed the following:

  • 87% of organizations agreed that their "application environment will become distributed across more locations over the next two years."
  • 81% of organizations agreed that they "face challenges with application and data portability across locations (including data center, public cloud and edge)."

Nearly every organization has data and applications spread across multiple locations. As a result, nearly every organization struggles with application and data portability. Organizations must therefore rethink the enterprise storage buying process.

The importance of a multi-cloud approach to storage design

The bulk of new storage purchase decisions should no longer be location-specific. The agility requirements placed on modern storage environments have become too great, especially with the increased adoption of containers and increased demand for application portability. Businesses require freedom of data and application movement.

Multi-cloud agility is a competitive differentiator; shortly, it will be a necessity to keep pace with the competition. Given the current market excitement around AI workloads, such as generative AI, demand for agility will only increase. Organizations will require a dynamic data pipeline environment that can pull in multiple data types from multiple locations.

Multi-cloud agility is a competitive differentiator; shortly, it will be a necessity to keep pace with the competition.

In addition, the disparity between on-premises storage systems and native cloud storage services has created challenges with migration initiatives, adding complexity to the task of sizing workloads for performance, availability and cost. In fact, the cost of low-latency infrastructure -- likely driven by the storage -- in the cloud is the most common reason why organizations identify a workload as not being a candidate for movement to the cloud, according to Enterprise Strategy Group research.

Any time data moves to an environment with new or different technology, there are new capabilities and limitations to consider, new management experiences that require separate skill sets and training, and a new operational environment that can introduce risk and complexity. Those considerations slow down operations. In other words, data is moving too often now for organizations to create a self-imposed tax by having separate storage technologies deployed at each site.

Moving forward, IT and cloud leaders' organizations should do the following:

  1. Evaluate storage technology from a hybrid, multi-cloud standpoint. The cost, complexity and risk associated with switching storage technologies is too high to use a disparate architecture at every location. Multi-cloud data is strategic. Selecting the right multi-cloud data storage architecture should be a strategic decision as well.
  2. Not default to the status quo. Don't just blindly scale existing on-premises infrastructure without considering hybrid cloud options. Similarly, don't default to the native public cloud storage option. The default can often be limited relative to other hybrid, multi-cloud storage alternatives, limiting performance and adding cost.
  3. Not neglect the on-premises environment. Data centers are not going away. Enterprise Strategy Group research indicated that IT decision-makers expect the average number of data centers to increase over the next five years. On-premises storage modernization is essential.
  4. Expect unexpected changes to and movement of data and apps in the future. Digital business is too dynamic to predict perfectly. Expect application requirements to change. Invest in architectures such as multi-cloud storage technologies that provide flexibility to adapt quickly when those changes occur.

Highlights from Hitachi

With Virtual Storage Platform One, Hitachi Vantara is on the right path. The platform should put Hitachi Vantara on the shortlist of vendors under consideration for hybrid, multi-cloud and on-premises storage.

Hitachi Vantara has a reputation for quality, performance and resilience in storage technology. Virtual Storage Platform One is poised to take those qualities to a new level with multi-cloud agility.

In addition to multiprotocol enterprise storage, the announcement highlighted several other Virtual Storage Platform One capabilities, including these features:

  • Cloud self-service to simplify the use of advanced data services, such as replication.
  • Intelligent workload management to better optimize storage pools as workloads' conditions change.
  • Integrated copy data management to ensure availability and resiliency without impacting performance, using replication and synchronous active storage clusters.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.

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