The trends and technologies of today’s storage market

 

IT Storage specialist

Carl Berry, Business Unit Director, Open Storage, Avnet Technology Solutions UK

Intelligent data storage is an integral part of a successful business; important aspects of data storage, such as where and how data is stored, need to be taken into consideration. Recently, the storage market has experienced a rather significant transformation. It is evident that the unmistakable sudden increase in unstructured data is predominantly driven by the explosion of mobile computing in recent years; the prevalence of social media, for example, has proven to be challenging in terms of storage.

The forefront of today’s storage market

At the moment I can identify three major trends which are clearly dominant in storage solutions – pre-validated data centre platforms, flash storage arrays and big data.

  • Data centre platform: First of all, let’s look at pre-validated data centre platforms and the opportunities they present. The most important aspect of any storage solution is how easy and efficient it is to use – channel partners must make sure that they present adaptable, effective solutions that incorporate storage components into a single, flexible architecture. This offers business partners a solution with both augmented efficiencies and reduced risk. Data centre platforms with pre-validated reference architectures which include server, storage, networking and hypervisor offer extensive opportunities for professional services.
  • Flash storage arrays: The popularity of flash storage is continuing to increase in the market. Data obviously needs protecting, but at the same time, performance needs to be maximised and restrictions need to be removed. The need for this has paved the way for technology which allows performance with scale in front of existing storage architecture whilst optimising connections. So as you can see, flash storage arrays offer a great opportunity for the channel; this is an area that I think business partners really need to come to terms with and make the most of.
  • Big data: As a storage solution, big data is not just about offering volume. It ultimately allows companies to engage with customers on a more personal level, which is obviously advantageous to the company itself, its customers and to channel partners. What’s more, big data allows businesses to benefit from the simple, straightforward retrieval and use of stored information.

Making the most of opportunities

The recent impressive increase in data in the mid-market continues to improve revenue opportunities in the storage sector, such as the need for cloud-based application delivery and business analytics. Nowadays data storage solutions do not just play an important role for specialists – there is a much greater assortment of capabilities and comprehension levels from more and more channel partners. Not only this, but it has become increasingly clear that it is business requirements rather than technology lifecycles that drive storage solution sales.

Despite this, it’s important to realise that although there are now greater revenue prospects for business partners, specific training and skills are required to make the most of these new opportunities. Working with an experienced partner in this field can mean partners can get the training that’s right for them and that’s tailored to the storage market. This is essential in helping business partners to get to grips with the basics of data storage and the appropriate jargon that undeniably comes with it. Without a certain level of knowledge and training, new prospects will be missed and business partners will miss out on beneficial opportunities which could have been advantageous.

Posted under IT infrastructure, Storage

The importance of Big Data for the channel

Big data specialist

Wayne Gratton, EMEA SolutionsPath Business Development Director

According to IBM, 90% of the world’s big data has been produced in the last two years but despite this, for some reason, I can see big data is definitely not as important as it should be to the channel. Much like Cloud Computing, resellers are often confused about what’s hype and what’s reality. They’re also concerned about actually having a big data strategy and how they can capitalise on this market.

With regards to customers, there are pockets of understanding but some are also blissfully unaware of big data’s potential. There certainly needs to be more education about how big data can match business strategies, taking into account appropriate spend and how far it might affect future business decisions.

Benefits

Overall, when big data is analysed to look at patterns, it can provide invaluable business insight and improve decision making across entire organisations. However, there are a wide range of benefits to wielding big data and these can vary dependent on vertical sectors. For example, it allows retailers to optimise supply chains by analysing sales data so they can stock up on the most popular items to remain profitable and to keep customers happy. Without data in healthcare, analysis on the recent outbreak of legionnaire’s disease in Europe during the summer wouldn’t have been as well documented. In the future that helps combat and prevent more disease outbreaks.

Channel opportunity: big data versus business needs

Resellers need to look at the opportunities big data brings to their business but to do this, they need to be better educated about ultimately what it means for them. They should consider how they’re dealing with big data in the first instance e.g. are they looking at it from a storage point of view or do they deal with software analytics?

It’s true that big data means different things to different companies and analysing a company’s needs is the first stage to deciding how important this growth sector is. It’s about turning big data into an asset. A simple way of doing this is by using asset discovery tools to gather intelligence on resources and usage of a clients’ storage, helping to implement solutions at a lower cost of ownership to gain more control over this rapid growth in data.

An approach to get sales rolling

Defining your company’s and your customers’ position(s) in the big data ecosystem can be achieved by working with a partner that has global expertise yet local knowledge to help tap into market opportunities.

We believe the best way to go about this is to take a three-pronged approach, working with said partner to:

  1. Envision – look at what big data means to your company and your customer’s company. We think it’s important to understand this growth sector on a global and local level through in-depth market analysis
  2. Enable – use training schemes to gain the skills and local knowledge in this area to become ‘big data advisors’ to your customers
  3. Execute – implement what has been learnt to drive sales and scout out local market opportunities

Posted under Big data, Storage