The storing of data has become an increasingly important concern as more and more data is being generated at a global level. In recent years, virtualisation has transformed the data centre, with Cloud Service Providers (CSP) included in those driving the change.
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Massive, fast-growing, unpredictable virtualised workloads from customers are dealt with by thousands of CSPs everyday. This significant level of growth can be handled only if CSPs can contain its complexities and curb its unpredictability.
It remains a challenge for CSPs to identify the pains and priorities that define their businesses over a period of time. With this in mind, VM-aware storage (VAS) provider Tintri surveyed 78 CSPs to discover the issues that they face. The research, and subsequent report, focused on storage because it is central to the success of CSPs and can help them to thrive if they utilise it correctly.
Virtualisation on the increase
The research revealed that 75 per cent of respondents have virtualised over 80 per cent of their environments. The fastest-growing CSPs actively use storage to unlock new efficiencies and deliver differentiated services to their customers. To help them compete more effectively and grow their businesses, they should be working towards the following:
- Align storage with virtualisation: While conventional storage is highly effective for physical workloads, LUN and volume-based storage architectures have little benefit to offer a highly virtualised footprint. CSPs cannot afford to lose time shuffling virtual machines (VMs) between LUNs and they cannot have low ceilings imposed on their ability to manage a large and growing number of VMs. That’s why they need storage specifically built for virtualisation that can offer density and simple management.
Given the heavy competition in cloud services, CSPs need to stand apart (and expand margins) by offering highly differentiated services
- Compete on differentiated services: Given the heavy competition in cloud services, CSPs need to stand apart (and expand margins) by offering highly differentiated services. That’s often accomplished by procuring different tiers of storage. Looking ahead, CSPs need to build on storage that allows them to isolate virtualised applications and set different Quality of Service (QoS) tiers on a single device. That way they can help their customers step up to higher-revenue services and guarantee the performance of customer applications.
- Think manageability: According to the report, CSPs cite performance as their biggest pain point, which makes sense: above all, they want to provide the best possible services to their customer base. But poor application and VM manageability drastically hinder storage performance – not to mention the CSP’s bottom line. CSPs don’t need more boxes – they need greater automation and better troubleshooting visibility in order to scale profitably.
Is VM-aware storage the solution?
With this in mind, CSPs need to consider a VM-aware storage solution because it will make it easier for CSPs to purchase and grow, while offering customers guaranteed high performance, transparent VM-level analytics and differentiated services.
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CSPs require reliable, scalable and high-performance storage to power their cloud infrastructures and they need to offer differentiated services to stand out in a competitive marketplace. They also have to acquire the right enabling solutions with flexible terms that allow them to grow at their own pace. No wonder that, for many CSPs, selecting storage can be a make-or-break business decision.