How to live and move on with IT storage debt

19 December, 2016
How to live and move on with IT storage debt

Guy Churchward is Divisional President Core Technologies at Dell EMC.

When you live in a house, where the layout does not really suit your lifestyle and there are not enough closets to accommodate your wife’s fetish with shoes, maybe it is time to modernise! But do you demolish the whole house and start again? Maybe it is tempting but, what about the investment that you have already made in your home? The kitchen you had re-modelled last year? And where are you going to live during the whole inevitably vexing process?

It is similar when you want to modernise your IT infrastructure: you have money sunk into your existing technology – probably still amortised for a year or two into the future – and you do not want to face the disruption of completely starting again. We call this investment hangover – tech debt.

For many companies, this debt includes a strategy for data storage that takes advantage of a shrinking per-gig cost of storage that enables them to keep everything. And that data is probably stored primarily on spinning disk with some high-availability workloads on flash in their primary datacentree. The old way of doing things was to see volumes of data growing and address that with more spinning disks.

But, just like the house we mentioned earlier, datacentres are bursting at the seams and it is now time to modernise – but how?


Key takeaways

  • Just like the house we mentioned earlier datacentres are bursting at the seams and it is now time to modernise – but how?
  • Some companies have barely started their digital transformation, many have taken a piecemeal approach, only a small minority have almost completed their digital transformation

Well, the first step is to get smart. Do you need more space or do you need to de-clutter? At EMC World earlier, we launched a new tool to help our customers manage the spiraling volume of copies of data that businesses are creating, which drives storage costs through the roof. In fact, this is forecasted to be a $50 billion business problem by 2018.

Backup, disaster recovery, long-term retention, local recovery, sandboxing, patch testing, test, development, analytics – there are so many reasons for creating copies of data in today’s businesses. But what happens to the data once it has served its purpose? And is the data you still need on the right platform to meet your business objectives efficiently and cost effectively?

Solutions help customers make sure they have the right number of copies of data, in the right place and on the right storage platform across all datacentres.

But which storage platform is that?

This is the year of all flash, part of the foundation for a modern datacentre – and the second step is to modernise storage platforms. In 2014, we modified our enterprise storage platform separating hardware from the software that powers it and also launched our first purpose-built all-flash array.

Earlier this year, we extended our position in flash by introducing VMAX All Flash, a simplified process for purchasing, configuring and migrating to all-flash arrays. Then, we launched EMC Unity to bring all of those benefits to SMEs and enterprises with midsized IT needs.

Unity sets a new standard for simple, modern, flexible and affordable arrays and is the first storage solution for midsized IT to be available as a purpose-built all-flash or hybrid storage array.

This changes everything for our SME customers. But we are not expecting them to rip and replace their entire storage network. Dell EMC customers can non-disruptively migrate to Unity, balancing their storage against their business needs of tomorrow.

Some companies have barely started their digital transformation. Many have taken a piecemeal approach. Only a small minority have almost completed their digital transformation. According to a recent study entitled – Digital Business by Dell Technologies, 85% of businesses believe digital start-ups will pose a threat to their organisation due to their increased agility in delivering services and ability to adopt innovative solutions at a quicker pace.

So, while it can be tempting to look at a storage infrastructure that no longer meets your needs and chant tear it down, it is not always possible, it is not always practical, and it is certainly no longer necessary!


New solutions are helping businesses cope with multiple copies of data and the growing demands on storage explains Guy Churchward at Dell EMC. This blog may have been edited for style and conciseness.


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