A lot of midmarket IT organizations these days are drowning in a sea of data. It used to be that only large companies with dedicated storage administrators struggled with storing large amounts of data. But today there is no correlation between the amount of data that needs to be managed and the relative size of the organization.
As a result, Carter George, executive director of storage strategy at Dell, says there is an acute need for ways of managing storage at scale that effectively automate the management of data. That goal, says George, is what's driving the development of Dell Fluid Data storage architecture that is based on technologies that Dell gained via its acquisitions of Compellent, EqualLogic, Ocarina and Exanet.
Dell is gaining traction in the storage space, says George, because the combination of those technologies allows Dell to offer file, block and object storage products that will increasingly be integrated under a common management system that automatically decides what tier of storage a particular piece of data should be stored on based on the policies set by the IT organization and the usage patterns of that data. That level of automation not only makes it easier to manage large amounts of data, says George, it in many cases eliminates the need for high-priced, dedicated storage specialists to manage the data.
As higher levels of automation are being brought to bear, it's clear we're beginning to see a convergence of data and storage management that has been long overdue. Too many IT organizations think about managing storage systems with little regard to optimizing the management of the data that consumes all that storage. And yet, when they examine where the dollars in their IT budgets are being allocated, it's becoming increasingly clear that most of those dollars are being consumed by storage systems that are far from being optimally managed. It might not be possible to reduce the size of the storage budget, but most organizations should be able to arrest its growth by rethinking what data is stored on inexpensive secondary and tertiary storage systems versus what needs to be readily accessed on primary storage. In many cases, IT organizations will find that not only is there a lot of data sitting idle on a primary storage system, but a lot of that data has also been duplicated across multiple storage systems.
George says the combination of more advanced compression and data deduplication technologies, coupled with object file systems that manage data more efficiently, are making it possible to now bring high-end storage system technologies to market at prices that midmarket IT organizations can afford.
In terms of storage, Dell has come a long way since serving as a reseller of EMC products. There's obviously no shortage of competition in the storage space. But Dell's Fluid Data architecture at least shows the company does understand the magnitude the challenge ahead.