What a difference a year makes! According to Tintri’s annual State of Storage Survey, a study involving hundreds of data center professionals from around the world, manageability was named as the biggest storage pain point—jumping up by ten percent compared to last year’s study and overtaking performance as the top storage concern. To be exact, 49 percent of this year’s respondents stated that manageability is a major challenge. How did this happen? Why such a shift?
The data center landscape continues to evolve. Managing a complex virtualized infrastructure is getter more and more difficult, especially at scale. As data centers grow from tens to hundreds to thousands of VMs, the burden on IT to manage storage with reduced staffing, predict future growth and maintain uptime is stretching resources to a breaking point.
As if this wasn’t enough to handle, the survey results also show that one third of data center professionals still rely on antiquated spreadsheets to manage and map virtual machines. I can hear a collective “ouch” from every storage professional who understands the pain involved in this reality—it simply isn’t sustainable. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why most respondents (69%) indicated that they are exploring new technologies to address their current challenges. IT pros cited performance, integration with existing infrastructure, cost per gigabyte and ability to scale as top criteria when evaluating new technology purchases.
Just how much are VM footprints growing? One in three survey respondents indicated that 90 percent of their applications are virtualized and four in five were at least 50 percent virtualized. Additionally, one-half of survey takers oversee at least 500 virtual machines and more than one-quarter manage 1,000 or more virtual machines.
In fact, the element of scale weaves itself into a variety of challenges the storage community is experiencing. After manageability and performance (46%), scale (42%) and capital expenses (41%) are two other areas IT professionals are struggling with the most.
Just as quickly as technology changes, so do the challenges IT professionals face on a daily basis. This rings true in all facets of IT, yet the way virtualization has turned the storage world upside down over the past decade has certainly created very unique issues specific to the storage professional. That said, it’s not a surprise that almost half of the survey respondents said that they are evaluating new storage vendors. A little over half of those respondents are evaluating VM-aware storage specifically and 44 percent are looking at all-flash storage to ensure their infrastructure is well-equipped for the new virtualized world. And, to get ready for the hybrid and public cloud challenges that are coming around the corner.
There’s no telling what changes will take place over the coming year, but there’s one thing we can always be sure of in the fast-paced world of enterprise storage – change will occur, it will happen rapidly and those with the most agile, efficient, easy-to-use technology will be the best prepared to handle what’s to come.