Why Storage Lies at the Heart of Effective XaaS Delivery


Today’s digital businesses run on data, and persistent storage of that data is at the heart of most service offerings. Yet many service providers spend unnecessary resources mitigating challenges that fundamentally stem from storage, including efficiency, integration in multi-tenant scenarios and the ability to align investment to incoming revenue while predictably managing growth.

Storage platforms need to deliver the performance, availability, scalability, reliability, efficiency, and simplicity that service providers need, with consumption models that meet the financial needs of today’s service providers.

Increasing storage can be a costly exercise

Storage solutions are central to service providers’ ability to deliver the ‘Everything as a Service’ (XaaS) model that has become ubiquitous today. As such, storage is typically one of the largest categories of infrastructure costs for shared services offerings, and choosing the right solution is imperative.

Even more importantly, beyond the direct costs, the indirect costs of poor storage decisions can add up to major impacts on the ability to scale a service, operational manpower needs, OPEX costs, and drive new revenue and margin opportunities.

Key for service providers is the ability to leverage the performance scalability that allows them to bring together many diverse applications and workloads, therefore storage consolidation or dense storage workload consolidation is essential for reducing costs.

These lower costs are realised through increased infrastructure densities, ease of management, lower energy and floor space consumption, as well as many secondary benefits. Studies show that consolidating storage can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership.

Importantly, service providers need a solution that can leverage the benefits of storage consolidation without compromising availability and performance.

This requires an architecture that is built around this notion of scale, multi-tenant, high-performance platforms, together with intelligent software and a 100% data availability guarantee to ensure no compromise on performance, availability, manageability, cyber resilience, or cost when consolidating.

Simplicity and flexibility are key

When operating at petabyte scale, as service providers typically do, manual administration tasks such as performance tuning are simply not feasible.

It is important for the storage platform to offer a ‘set it and forget it’ approach, where the system itself handles these types of tasks automatically and autonomously via intelligent software with algorithms that consistently deliver the performance required by the applications without any administrative effort.

Furthermore, service providers cannot afford to wait for additional capacity to be delivered and installed when they need to scale rapidly.

It is necessary for the storage platform to have all the anticipated storage capacity installed on the data centre floor, ready to be consumed when required. However, instead of the traditional CAPEX model where they are required to purchase and pay for all this capacity upfront, there are different consumption models available that are more aligned with service provider business models.

Storage and consumption on demand

In today’s increasingly complex and competitive business landscape, service providers should be focussing on business innovation and growth, rather than worrying about infrastructure. An elastic pricing purchasing model that allows them to pay for storage with a combination of CAPEX (base capacity) and OPEX (burst capacity) assists in uncertain market conditions by providing flexibility and predictable costs.

This means that service providers can depend upon budget constraints and business needs, self-provision additional base capacity or burst capacity, and convert burst capacity to base capacity at any time without fees or penalties to balance the conflicting demands for flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Service providers that want to do away entirely with having to acquire or configure storage infrastructure up to multi-petabyte scale, can benefit from a pure OPEX based consumption model.

This will encompass an all-inclusive subscription and pay-as-you-go scalability (up or down), hardware included for life, a 100% data availability guarantee, built-in cyber resilience, and an end to the risks and costs associated with data migrations. This model includes the unmatched performance, availability, and security of on-premises storage, with a cloud-like consumption model, while the storage vendor manages the system, and the service provider simply manages the data.

A competitive market

Service providers that are trying to compete effectively against hyperscale vendors face strategic questions about how they will sustainably drive profit and revenue. Storage choices play a significant role in those decisions that extend beyond the simple total cost of ownership of the storage system itself.

Storage platforms should be uniquely designed to maximise key values relevant to the service provider community, including efficiency, scalability, availability, cyber resilience, and comprehensive integration.

When those technical advantages are paired with flexible business models, the result is a compelling value that enables service providers to align investment models with client revenue and reach new clients. With the right solution, service providers can stop worrying about storage infrastructure and shift resources toward innovation.

By Hayden Sadler, Country Manager for South Africa at Infinidat.

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