May - 2016 - issue > CEO Insight


Mohit Aron
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Mohit Aron
Hyper-converged platforms using standardized appliances have completely changed architectural philosophies for enterprise data centers. These appliances are usually turnkey, in contrast to the piecemeal server, networking and enterprise storage products that needed to be orchestrated together in decades past. The results have been dramatic benefits to IT, including not just cost reduction but a more strategic shift in focus towards running business applications since less time is spent managing the individual server and storage infrastructure pieces.

The company I co-founded, Nutanix, led the way in this hyper-convergence movement for primary storage used for virtualization, but I believe there is an even bigger opportunity to impact the world of secondary storage. For many decades, secondary storage consumption focused on data protection and DR, with tape as the secondary media. When data deduplication and SATA HDDs came on the scene, tape was swapped out though it never went away completely. Customers benefited from better backup experiences in terms of speed of recovery, but this remained a separate silo in the datacenter that served as an expensive insurance policy.

The Bigger Challenges in Secondary Storage

Meanwhile, several other use cases in secondary storage are creating silos of their own, including test and development, which leverage additional copies of production data. Storage is often managed separately for this use case, rapidly creating data sprawl. File services are also another secondary storage use case because they may not require high performance, but end users depend on high resiliency for productivity. This broader issue around copy data proliferation has only gotten worse as organizations take on big data, creating yet another silo of infrastructure and copies of data for use with Hadoop and its own use of secondary data. All of this makes it increasingly difficult to make use of public cloud services because there isn't a consolidated view of all the on-premise data and what workloads make sense for migration.

To better understand the depth of these challenges, our company conducted a survey of 74 IT professionals in late 2015 to help identify the top pain points of data storage. Our survey revealed the growing complexity of enterprise data storage-along with widespread lack of visibility into stored data. The survey highlighted that most companies rely on three or more storage solutions to manage company data, and in turn respondents rated "managing complexity of different products" as a top concern, second only to growing storage costs.

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