As part of their research into the market, Gartner has identified seven critical capabilities that buyers must assess when purchasing a hybrid storage arrays. These factors offer a way to directly compare the various products available and ensure you buy the best technology for your business.
The seven critical capabilities are:
The lower your overheads, the greater the return on your storage investments. Gartner assesses how available solutions simplify management, awarding additional ‘marks’ for features that reduce the need for manual input.
Modern hybrid storage arrays will often use single-pane management consoles coupled with in-depth monitoring and reporting to provide engineers with all the information they need to optimise performance. There should also be provisions to automate activities, including your response to outages and failures.
2. Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS)
Reliability and availability are crucial to the always-on business, so Gartner also assesses how well each hybrid storage system meets these needs. To score highly, vendors will build systems using reliable, de-rated components to increase mean time between failure (MTBF).
Systems will also be engineered to reduce disruption caused by updates and upgrades – code or hardware. Enhanced diagnostics boost performance and reduce human error, while other potential features include protection against data corruption and tolerance of multiple component failures.
Raw performance is important. Gartner analyse IOPS, bandwidth and latency – the performance of the overall system, not the individual components. Don’t forget to evaluate the ability to scale performance as demand grows.
Your data estate will only ever get larger, even with hybrid cloud connectivity. To help prepare for future state, scalability factors like capacity growth will need to be considered, along with SLAs linked system performance.
Your operating environment is increasingly complex, and you need a platform capable of running a broad range of applications. Gartner assess the ability of each platform to support multiple OSs, hypervisors and third-party independent software vendors (ISVs).
You will also need to address support for applications, such as databases, backup/archiving products and management tools and public cloud vendors to ensure your entire ecosystem can operate using these hybrid storage systems.
6. Multitenancy and Security
Cloud-like storage allows you to make better use of capacity – but workloads need to be properly segregated to prevent issues between development and production. Your ideal storage platform should offer support for diverse workloads, protected by user access controls and system configuration change audit logging.
7. Storage Efficiency
Just because the data estate is expected to grow exponentially does not mean that expansion should not be managed. Gartner recommend hybrid storage systems include features to increase efficiency such as compression, deduplication, thin provisioning and auto-tiering to maintain control of use and cost.
What does this actually look like?
Even with a 7-point checklist, the process of analysing potential hybrid storage arrays is not necessarily straightforward. To learn more about your options – and how to choose a platform that will help your business achieve its strategic goals – please give us a call.