There is no magic bullet to
solving the myriad challenges brought on by the data deluge. No single
answer or technology will enable organizations to achieve the bevy of
business goals we all seek—greater efficiency, higher performance,
improved management, and lower costs. The information volumes are
growing too large, too fast, and will only continue climbing.
Each of the most common storage technologies available today—disk, solid state drives (SSD), and tape systems—can play individual, yet complimentary strategic roles in any storage infrastructure. It is possible to deploy two or even one of the three technologies exclusively—and let’s face it, many organizations do just that (and some manufacturers actually encourage it). But it is not the most strategic of approaches. No, selecting a single technology system for all your storage needs would only limit the potential benefits and require tradeoffs and compromise.
Conversely, a storage infrastructure that leveraged all the available systems strategically, such as, SSDs for fast data access, disk for enterprise storage, and tape for back-up and recovery, would begin to reap efficiency and performance gains almost immediately. Add to that mix advanced technologies such as those that automatically move information to the most appropriate drive—be it disk, SSD, or tape—and the infrastructure starts becoming strategic.
Additional technologies such as real-time compression of active data, that automatically compresses data before storing, increasing capacity on-the-fly by up to five times, and the storage infrastructure becomes a critical business ecosystem unto itself. When finished the ecosystem is self-sustaining, highly efficient, affordable and capable of providing a foundation for analytics and insight. That’s smarter storage.
Albert Einstein’s view of information was as perceptive as it was prophetic. Einstein lived until 1955, just three years after the first mainframe computer, the IBM 701, shipped with the first magnetic tape storage system, the IBM 726. That solution launched the modern digital computing age and subsequently, the information revolution. Today, almost 60 years after Einstein’s passing, man is still wrestling with the challenges posed and provided by more readily available and accessible information.
And as we stand at the dawn of this new era of computing, it’s time for a smarter approach to storage. To be smarter about what information we store, where we store it, how we store it and how we retrieve what we need, when we need it. The advances are available today and growing in sophistication all the time. Whether we choose to adopt approaches like these is up to us. But the sooner we do, the sooner we can leverage what is, instead of spending resources searching for what we think should be.
Brian Truskowski is the general manager of IBM System Storage and Networking, IBM Systems and Technology Group.