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Podcast: 5 things you must know before your data center storage refresh

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on October 7, 2016 by Emily A. Davidson

If you’re thinking that it’s time for a storage refresh, then this is the podcast for you. Inspired by headlines from EMC World, our Hybrid IT Director, Matt Sirbu, gives us some words of wisdom in this EMC Unity Q & A on what IT leaders need to know before spending a single dollar on new storage.

To listen to this EMC Unity podcast, click the image below. If you’re not able to listen now, read the transcript below.

Hi, my name is Anastasia Phillips and I’m here with Softchoice’s Director of Hybrid IT Architectures & Consulting, Matt Sirbu (pron. Sirb-you), to talk about EMC Unity All-Flash Storage Array, and what you need to know when you’re ready for a data center storage refresh.

Matt: Thank’s Anastasia I’m glad to be here.

Matt, there is a lot to think about when it comes time for a refresh. At EMC World, the headline was “All-Flash Storage Simplicity and Affordability,” which is great, but what does that really mean?

A: EMC was the first-to-market with flash-based systems, back in 2008. So if you think about that it’s nearly a decade now that they’ve been learning how to truly get the most out of that technology. With their Unity platform, they have brought those enhancements to the entry and mid-range storage families so now anyone can take advantage of flash-based systems.

Q: How does EMC Unity All-flash help IT deliver more efficiently to their customers?

A: IT departments are constantly fighting a battle to meet the changing business demands, and provide the performance necessary for their critical applications. Now more than ever it becomes increasingly more difficult to do this with legacy architectures. Flash storage brings unprecedented performance to meet those mission critical workload’s demands. However, up until now, it was a large capital investment to justify.

Q: What are the common mistakes IT departments make when acquiring new storage?

A: The common mistakes are most companies compare flash capacities with traditional spinning disk capacities. They compare on a like-to-like basis. But, with in-line data reduction and other technologies, the customers really need to start sizing on effective capacities.

Q: Ok, so what is ‘in-line data-reduction’?

A: Well ultimately means that data is being shrunk while it is coming in to the system, which is important when we’re sizing a solution. Since data is being shrunk as it’s being ingested, you do not need to have the “full” capacity as other flash architectures need to have–to then go back and shrink that data later. Ultimately what this means is that you can reduce the overall capacity that you need to purchase to meet the application demands

Q: So, extreme performance and less capacity requirements. What else is there?

A: Well, now that we have a smaller environment, and we have less moving parts that generate heat. We actually see that there’s additional savings on the operational side needed to support that environment. Overall, we find our customers save around 50% of their power and cooling costs.

Q: What’s the cost of not doing this, and what hurdles are stopping companies from moving forward?

A: The biggest cost is that IT departments will continue to have is their inability to provide businesses with the resources they need. Ultimately, if that continues, these businesses will continue go around their technology departments and create even more “Shadow IT”. And this puts additional pressure on IT departments because there are so many different options out there, and not enough time to evaluate all of those platforms, so a decision never gets made.

That’s how we help, with our Datacenter TechCheck . We actually provide a resource to go out, do an assessment and see what the true requirements are for the environment, then we can evaluate all the options out there to make a recommendation for our customers.

Q: Is there a cost for this?

A: No, actually we find that it’s really important for us to bring additional value to our customers so this is something we don’t charge for. We’ll eat up all of those costs ourselves and make sure we can stand behind any solution that we would bring in front of our customers.

Q: Do you have any last words of wisdom, Matt?

A: If you look at everything we’ve talked about, data reduction, the reduction of power and cooling… really we’re starting to see it’s a like-for-like cost when we are talking flash vs spinning disk. So, if you can get performance benefits along with the operational benefits now is really the time to start evaluating Flash technologies.

Anastasia: That sounds great, thanks so much for your time Matt.

Editors note: if you missed them, the 5 things you need to know are:

  1. Consider flash-based systems like EMC Unity, because they are not as expensive as they used to be
  2. Don’t compare flash capacities with traditional spinning disk capacities, start sizing on effective capacities
  3. Consider a solution with in-line data reduction to reduce the overall capacity that you need to purchase to meet the application demands
  4. Flash-based systems reduce power and cooling costs, and the capacity you need to purchase to meet application demands
  5. Take a holistic assessment of your environment, Softchoice provides these in the form of TechChecks to evaluate your true needs and evaluate new solution

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