Service sector

Storage as a Service: The Next Evolution in Enterprise Storage Solutions?

Businesses often focus on concepts such as digital transformation, edge computing, and hybrid cloud. But another leverage point that enables organizations to be more efficient and productive is the consumption of solutions as-a-service.

With the commercialization of computers and the introduction of the Internet and the World Wide Web, the SaaS movement quickly gained momentum, leading to what is widely recognized as the first modern SaaS offering: the relationship management platform. client of Salesforce Inc., launched in 1999 and completely built from the ground up.

Today, data and storage solutions companies like Pure Storage Inc. are working to take the fundamentals as a service and bring them to infrastructure and microservices, known as storage as a service. as a service, or STaaS.

“SaaS offers appeared several years before [AWS did in 2006]and the idea of ​​applying some of these concepts to infrastructure and simplifying deployment and management sounded appealing to many customers,” said theCUBE industry analyst. Dave Vellante.

Benefits such as cost effectiveness, user-friendliness and versatility have led to the rush to port all possible business applications/processes to a platform as a service in the cloud. And with total end user spending in the public cloud expected to exceed $500 billion by the end of 2022, service-as-a-service proves profitable for both enterprise customers and solution providers.

In separate interviews on a theCUBE and Pure Storage Inc. special, titled “At your storage service”, Vellante spoke with Prakash Darji (pictured), General Manager of the Digital Experience Business Unit at Pure Storage; Steve McDowell, senior data and storage analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy; and Emile StamCommercial Director and Marketing Director at Open Line BV During the event, they discussed topics ranging from growth projections for the enterprise STaaS landscape to steps companies like Open Line are taking to stay on top of customer needs and market clamor. (*Disclosure below.)

Simplification and monitoring are key to successful “SaaSification” of storage delivery

Businesses today are increasingly wary of cloud-related spending and are taking proactive steps to account for every dollar spent. Since IT operations have mostly shifted from operating via capex to opex, with manageable and largely predictable costs, organizations generate immense value by paying for the exact amount of storage resources they need, with the possibility of reducing their existing capacity in the future. This flexibility is why “as a service” makes sense for the business.

Another reason for the STaaS trend is that companies want to standardize their approach to critical operations, such as security.

“In a world where security is becoming more and more important, where standardization will allow you to secure your landscape from ransomware and that kind of stuff, these trends are driving the SaaSification of storage, and the only way to do that is through storage as a service,” Darji said at the event.

The pay-for-performance culture is also attractive when organizations do not have a clear idea of ​​their current needs. Since the data needs of end-consumer applications can be extremely unpredictable, the ability to scale capacity up and down as needed can mitigate over- or under-provisioning as applications are deployed. businesses. However, for all of these benefits to make sense, especially in the long run, simplicity must be at the heart of any great STaaS offering, Darji emphasized. For example, requiring a company to perform laborious work before any increase or decrease in capacity defeats the original purpose of having this degree of flexibility.

“If the goal was:I want to change service here to this service here”, and a person had to present himself and doing a data migration day is kind of pointless,” he said.

The monitoring and consistency with which Pure Storage does so is a key differentiator for Pure and the reason its solutions are enjoying market popularity – in essence, the ability to execute changes, from policy to updates. of security, and to have them reflected in the various clients of the client. deployment iterations.

“FFor us, the storage system is just an edge device,” Darji explained.It can sit in your data center. It can be accommodated in seated mode; an MSP can run it. It might even be sitting in the public cloud. That IoT thinking must come to storage, and it is the foundation on which we have built Pure as a Service.

Here is the full video interview with Darji:

Analyze IT Buyer and Vendor Prospects

No matter how good a new approach in business is, organizations still need to sit down and carefully sift through the “why” of it all – for all parties involved.

From the perspective of an IT buyer – whether a CIO or an IT architect – leveraging the model as a service means they can align their storage operations and security with vendors it knows and trusts, while overcoming cost uncertainties. But, of course, companies are at different stages of their cloud-native transformation journey and therefore have very different storage needs and financial goals. These organizations can rightly look to STaaS solutions as a driver for growth, according to McDowell.

“It gives me the flexibility as an IT architect to grow my business over time without worrying about how much money do I need to invest in storage hardware,” he told theCUBE at the event. “So, it’s good for organizations that scale and are equally enjoyable for organizations that just want to manage and control costs over time. »

From a vendor perspective, infrastructure as a service, with storage as one of its underlying branches, exhibits a degree of simplicity and utility that keeps solution companies like Pure Storage at the forefront. .

It is a push button approach to deploy storage to applications and workloads who need it,” McDowell explained. “So It becomes storage as utility. It transcends the economic model based on the consumption of “service as a service”. »

In technology, whether for consumers or businesses, a lack of forward momentum means regression. Thus, innovation is key to the future growth of the STaaS industry. According to McDowell, this innovation will come from vendors creating stronger integrations across multiple end-customer experiences. Providers should think of the business as going beyond simply leasing storage arrays and racks, but instead using end-to-end data management to increase utility.

Already representing 120 billion dollars of total end-user cloud spend worldwide, IaaS (under which storage resides) is only second to SaaS. With such a performance already, the next few years will certainly be exciting to watch, added McDowell.

Here is the full video interview with McDowell:

Actionable takeaways for the business

As the business as a whole quickly warms to the idea of ​​consuming storage as a service, Open Line’s experience with the technology shines a light on the direct logistics of implementation. As a provider of managed cloud services and helping Dutch-based midsize businesses navigate their transformation journeys, the company has insight into how Storage-as-a-Service solutions are reinventing workflows. business work.

According to Stam, the multiple features, benefits, and products of typical IaaS offerings can often distract from the core business and even impair workflow. So as businesses embrace its streamlined integrations and security benefits, they don’t need to stray too far from core business operations.

Going too fast, or without a compatible cloud adoption strategy, has often led to companies withdrawing from their cloud usage due to unmet expectations (cloud repatriation). So, Open Line helps clients design winning strategies and not think of the cloud as “just another set of data,” Stam explained.

“Iit’s about managing maturity on our side, but also on the side of our customers,” he added.

Providing storage services and solutions through its partnership with Pure Storage, Open Line enjoys several intrinsic benefits, chief among which is reduced staffing and resource requirements.

“WWe are much more adaptable. OWe now have a virtually maintenance-free storage solution because we have it as a service and we work closely with Pure,” concluded Stam.

Here is the full video interview with Stam:

Stay tuned for the full event video below!

(*Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the “At Your Storage Service” event. Neither Pure Storage Inc., sponsor of theCUBE event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over the content of theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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