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How the Software Defined Storage Movement Is Transforming ITaaS

By James Hanley, VP & GM, Platforms and Data Centers, CSC

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James Hanley, VP & GM, Platforms and Data Centers, CSC

The dramatic move and adoption of the 3rd Platform is driving the next phase of the IT revolution. Along with the commoditization of hardware, faster connectivity, and the continued rise of 3rd Platform technologies such as cloud, big data, mobile, and social— there’s a greater need for IT to adapt to these rapidly changing paradigm shifts while delivering IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS).

We are now truly experiencing the post PC era with the realization of a data-centric world. Data is growing at unprecedented levels never seen before, and in many cases much faster than the IT staff and resources assigned to manage it. This presents a host of problems for the enterprise but it’s more than just data growth that is driving IT’s need to transform.

The explosion of mobile devices, ubiquitous connectivity and instant access to cloud applications make it easier for end users to create and consume a torrent of content, upwards of 90 percent of which is unstructured data. Much of this data is end-user generated, yet 80 percent of that will be managed by IT at some point in its lifecycle.

This puts even greater demands on enterprise IT to store massive amounts of content accessible to these new 3rd Platform technologies. IT is undergoing a transformation to become more agile and adaptive – and data storage is at the center of that transformation.

Enter the Software-Defined Storage Movement

The benefits of cloud computing are well documented with the movement to a more agile IT infrastructure. The commoditization of hardware resources along with cheaper processing and capacity has led to a more software-centric approach. Software-based solutions are now entering the storage and networking domains leading to an era of the software-defined enterprise in which not only the applications are impacted but also the infrastructure optimized to run these mission-critical applications.

The market is seeing a rapid change in storage environments supporting this data-centric world of enterprise IT. Until now, most data storage resided in a physical world. As enterprise Storage Area Networks (SANs) became an alternative for Direct-Attach Storage (DAS), IT began to realize greater efficiency and agility benefits – even in what could be described as loosely constructed infrastructure technology silos.

“Software-based solutions are now entering the storage and networking domains leading to an era of the software-defined enterprise”

The advent of virtualization and now the software-defined enterprise has played a big part in helping transform IT and has begun breaking down technology silos in the datacenter. With newer workloads and continued innovation coming from the open source community, there is an increased emphasis on software-based shared storage and network automation resulting in virtual resources that reside anywhere in a network or cloud (private, public or hybrid).

The software-defined storage movement can take much of its credit from SANs. These shared storage solutions have become more affordable and versatile as they can handle many of the most complex workloads in the enterprise datacenter today. The business trends impacting this software-defined movement include:

• The explosion of structured and unstructured data and the need to store, recover, and archive this information.

• The emergence of newer applications comprised of big data, mobile, and social use cases. Along with these applications, hybrid cloud-based IaaS solutions are being adopted across a broad range of vertical markets to replace on-premise infrastructure.

• The availability of broadband and Internet speeds affording enterprises the ability to distribute their workforces in a global manner.

In addition to these macro trends, the rise of mobility and social media are fueling the need for a more efficient way to manage this data storage. Cloud and social media organizations have helped pioneer software-defined storage through the desire to drive down costs by developing and maintaining the entire infrastructure stack on their own. It became an easier method for showcasing the value of this approach or to start offering software-based services through the cloud. Mobility and social media go hand-in-hand, causing the rapid increase in distributed data that must be analyzed by enterprises for competitive and regulatory reasons. As a result, industry researchers such as IDC expect the software-defined storage market to become the de facto mechanism for designing, delivering, and consuming data. According to IDC, commercial software-defined revenue will likely exceed $1.8 billion by 2015.

Embracing Software Defined Storage and Delivering ITaaS

At CSC, we are helping our clients achieve ITaaS along the journey to the 3rd Platform and beyond. Among the many solutions we deliver to our clients are a broad range of cloud, big data, mobility, cyber, datacenter, and networking offerings designed to increase IT infrastructure capacity, ROI, and performance.

Together with our strategic technology partners such as EMC, we offer Storage-as-a-Service solutions that provide the scale and cost efficiencies needed to store, recover, and archive massive amounts of distributed business-critical data. And by integrating EMC's ViPR technology with server and network automation, CSC solutions are optimized for virtual, big data, mobile, and social environments helping organizations transform IT through a software-defined enterprise.

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