Data storage has always been the backbone of any IT environment, but modern workloads are putting a strain on older storage systems. Faced with the need to support increasingly data-intensive applications such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics and edge computing, IT organizations say aging storage gear is one of the biggest challenges they face.
The maximum lifespan for storage arrays and other types of IT hardware is roughly seven years, although companies frequently wring extra mileage out of their gear. But when storage reaches end of life (EOL) or end of service life (EOSL) status, it can be very expensive to extend maintenance contracts with the original manufacturer — if the contracts can be renewed at all.
You can extend the life of a device and save money with third-party maintenance providers, but that’s not always an ideal solution. Repairs often must be delayed while the provider searches for aftermarket parts, resulting in costly downtime and poor application performance. In addition, third-party providers may not have access to firmware updates or security patches.
The Value of All-Flash
Older systems can be time-consuming to manage, requiring more frequent performance tuning and load balancing. They can also be very difficult to scale. And when aging gear begins to require frequent maintenance, it could signal an imminent failure that could threaten operations.
When evaluating your storage options, the most important consideration is making sure you have a system that supports new business needs. Very often, a total upgrade may be more cost-effective if it improves the performance and availability of the applications you need in order to compete in a digital economy.
That’s why more organizations are moving to all-flash storage such as Dell EMC’s new PowerStore family of appliances. All-flash systems are up to 100 times faster than disk storage with low latency and immediate data availability, which makes them ideal for real-time analytics and other data-intensive applications.
The global all-flash array market is projected to see a compound annual growth rate of 26.3 percent through 2025, according to ResearchAndMarkets analysts. Growth is particularly likely in financial services, retail and insurance industries, the firm says, due to the demand for improved performance, lower latency and higher availability across new business services.
Smarter, Faster, Better
With PowerStore, Dell EMC has unified what was a large portfolio of midrange products that developed over the years as EMC acquired competitors such as Compellent and XtremIO. Dell acquired competitors such as EqualLogic before acquiring EMC and its ownership of VMware. It creates a logical upgrade path for customers with aging Dell EqualLogic, Dell EMC VNX/VNXe array, sDell EMC SC, Unity and XtremIO all-flash and hybrid arrays.
With a single architecture for block, file and virtual storage, PowerStore can handle a variety of traditional and modern workloads. The ability to provide storage in multiple formats provides workload flexibility and enables IT to simplify and consolidate infrastructure.
PowerStore has also provided a significant improvement on Cerium’s engineering lab. Zach Feingold, Implementation Engineer at Cerium explains, “We went from a system with minimal storage that required constant ‘garbage collection’ to free up space and lower spinning disk performance overall to an extremely performant system that has had 0 downtime (even across several software upgrades) and minimal day-to-day clean up since. This in turn has allowed our engineering team to focus on building their systems and testing rather than regular cleanup so we can put more attention at the needs of our customers.”
Built-in machine learning and artificial intelligence features create extreme efficiency with intelligent data placement. PowerStore automatically discovers new appliances when they are added to a cluster, and then analyzes all data stored on each device to determine what type of storage it is and how often it is accessed by applications. Based on that analysis, PowerStore can automatically store data across multiple arrays for load balancing and faster delivery.
One of the best reasons to upgrade to PowerStore is the Anytime Upgrade program, which is designed to expand and enhance PowerStore over time. The Anytime Upgrade program allows upgrades to newer generations or upgrade your model anytime, as well as add an additional equivalent appliance at a discount. PowerStore systems are continuously modernized with quick, easy controller upgrades — without downtime or impact to applications.