Every year business demands more and more from Infrastructure Services such as Compute, Networking, Storage and IT Backup. The first business driver impacting infrastructure SLAs is performance – enable faster IT service delivery. With 30+ years in the business, I have never seen the following request, “oh and don’t worry about scale, cost or reduction of SLA delivery!”

Scale, cost reduction, SLA reduction and specifically business backup are always must-haves. If we focus on business backup, it has historically been the example of the Dog wagging its tail. Everything that the Dog does has to be accounted for by the tail…in our case, every Block and File storage performance decision drives a business backup demand.

In the world of hyper-unstructured file data growth, you can no longer allow the Dog to wag its tail. NAS backup is super hard to scale affordably and even harder to manage. At a recent F100 client dinner in London, a seasoned IT executive shared that his team is now trying to deliver business recovery SLAs to over 25pbs of NAS data. I asked him if his team could answer the following 3 questions:

  1. What % of his NAS files had not been accessed within the past 3 years?
  2. What % of his NAS files were orphaned data?
  3. What % of his NAS files were non-critical application data?

As you might expect, the answer was “I do not know”. But more importantly, the follow up was, “can you help, as I understand that my biggest issue is that my company treats every byte of data in the exact same way, from Tier 1 platform, backup software, dedupe/compression appliance, replication, and network movement! It is not sustainable now let alone next Qtr!”

After a super meal, a bunch of great IT stories and a few laughs, we grabbed a glass of wine and a paper napkin…

What if 50% of your file data had not been accessed in 3 years? Industry data from Gartner suggests that most enterprise customers discover that 70%+ of their NAS data has not been accessed in 3+ years. If we archived that 50% of data to Object Storage what would the business impact?

  1. 50% Reduction in existing Backup costs – software licensing, backup servers, network bandwidth consumption (BU and Replication), Data Domain appliances, and tape (media and Iron Mountain). Offset by fractional investment in Object Storage.
  2. Ability to improve mission-critical file recovery SLA, while maintaining existing SLA for infrequently used files.
  3. Win back of existing production storage footprint by archiving infrequently accessed files.

Not surprisingly the business impact is HUGE! 

Within the next 10 days, the client did an analysis on 10tb’s of their existing NAS files, discovered that the answer to the three questions was – 67%, 37%, and 36%. Working with the client we used this data to produce a business impact justification to archive 3pbs of data to object storage producing an economic impact of x. SLA impact of y. And most importantly the archive solution was delivered with ZERO proprietary stubs or file systems that create vendor lock-in.

 

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