The future of storage resides at the intersection of the edge and cloud
Ossama Samadoni, Sr Sales Director – MERAT, Dell Technologies
Information is the lifeblood of companies and in this new data era, the combination of massive amounts of data and unparalleled technology innovation has given businesses of all sizes the opportunity to become disruptive, digital powerhouses. Data has become more diverse than ever before – and is now being created, processed and stored everywhere, from edge to cloud.
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, said: “Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”Today, data is increasingly generated and consumed across a geographically distributed and mobile infrastructure of people, processes and tools. As every aspect of our lives and business go online, organisations are rapidly transforming how and where business happens. The edge increasingly is where data is being created, with Gartner estimating that 75% of the data will be generated and processed at the edge.
Edge represents an incredible opportunity for organisations as they digitise business processes and extract value from all the data they collect from their operations. It also represents new challenges as organisations must find a way to gain real-time insights across a massively distributed set of devices, with large data volumes in a cost-effective manner. Attempting to manage this growth and data with traditional storage technology – where data is moved to and processed in centralised data centres – comes with challenges, such as:
- Increasing latency: Sending data from edge devices to a data centre and back significantly increases latency, which is unacceptable in use cases like self-driving cars where a millisecond delay in response can be dangerous.
- Reliability issues: Enterprises may not be able to count on mission-critical or time-critical applications because of latency and bandwidth issues.
- Rising costs: Moving massive amounts of data at high speed can quickly increase expenses.
- Lack of bandwidth: There simply may not be enough bandwidth to handle the sheer volume of data generated by edge resources.
- Increasing risks: The growing amount of data sent between edge devices and data centre locations increases the attack surface.
Most organisations have found that no single infrastructure can address all their data requirements, so they utilise different architectures, creating silos of IT resources that are managed and consumed independently. At the same time, IT is under increasing pressure to deliver greater levels of simplicity and agility on the business side.
In order to manage data generated by edge environments more efficiently, enterprise-grade, on-premises storage must now provide the same operational flexibility as cloud, becoming ever more adaptable, automated and easier to integrate with existing management frameworks. By landing storage and cloud capabilities out at the edge, organisations have more latitude to decide where a specific workload is best processed.
But this brings us to the real question. What are some of the enterprise data storage practices that would help unlock the real value of data capital at the edge?
Firstly, the digital leaders of the future can’t be built on the technology approaches of the past – IT needs to evolve to provide a technology foundation that accelerates digital innovation. Today’s storage infrastructure technology is designed to make hybrid cloud environments and data produced at the edge easier to deploy and manage. These purpose-built suites of solutions have evolved to fill an essential role in the data centre, providing ever-expanding levels of performance, capacity and resiliency for mission-critical workloads. Modern storage architecture is helping businesses succeed, by not only supporting current business needs, but also allowing scale to evolve IT infrastructure as business dynamics change.
Therefore, organisations must refresh their storage infrastructure on a regular basis and keep up with the increased data demands by eliminating ageing infrastructure that is more susceptible to failures that cause outages/downtime. Modern storage infrastructure also frequently includes advanced data protection features that help ensure the on-premises data remains safe and secure. Data encryption adds an additional layer of protection to this, improving data security and mitigating the potential for data loss.
Next, against the backdrop of post pandemic recovery and the volume of data being generated from the edge, one thing is clear. The lines between storage and cloud are blurring as organisations demand agility and simplicity for business-critical IT infrastructure to respond to changing market dynamics. According to a recent report from Coherent Market Insights, the GCC and Levant’s data storage market is set to reach a record-high of $8.5 billion by 2027, nearly tripling from $2.9 billion in 2019. In order to manage and process high volumes of data, enterprises are transitioning from multicloud architecture to hybrid cloud storage that leverage the power of cloud for their edge environments. This is because hybrid cloud data storage technology provides the flexibility and resiliency that enterprises need for evolving workloads.
The premise is simple. The edge is a key element of the future of computing, and data storage and cloud are intrinsically linked to that. To effectively ride the data waves, organisations must modernise their data centres and embrace intelligent and adaptable enterprise cloud storage infrastructure. The organisations that do will be prepared to manage the deluge of data that’s already here.