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The Eternal Shift in the Data Center

by Pete Schmitt, CTO, cStor

The state of the market for data management is rapidly evolving. What clients needed 14 years ago when cStor was founded isn’t the same as it is today.  While the desired business outcomes are the same, requirements for meeting business demands have shifted greatly.

The latest pivot for cStor is prioritizing our cloud, security, and consulting service practices for clients.  We’ve chosen strategic partners in the cloud and security space; hired experts to be practice leaders; trained solutions architects and sales reps, created plans for continuing education in this space and developed service offerings to meet these changes.

What has evolved in the industry over the past decade and a half to solicit this shift?

Fourteen years ago, data was primarily in the data center. Now users demand data to be accessible anywhere, anytime. This allows greater productivity but puts a stress on data management and data security.

And the volume of data has exploded over the past few years. Gone are the limits of transaction data. Now, almost everything is captured and must be stored in a way that is accessible, searchable and now, analyzed. We are in a new era of machine generated data that is a major factor in the Internet of Things. Advances in video surveillance—high definition, recording of volumes of images and data add to the growing accumulation of searchable data. Secure capture, storage, and organization of information is paramount. Backups add another layer of stress to IT and security needs.

Analytics is critical to capitalize on data assets. Data has a new use.  After capturing, storing, and tagging for search ability, how do you make that data of value?  Data analytics comes in to play to deliver better business outcomes. Looking at past patterns, trends, and behaviors one can determine next steps to up-level business models. Predictive analytics has become the new tool for driving success at a business level.

Now, data can be used for smarter business – boosting profitability, determining growth patterns, identifying trends, creating an advantage. And again, this surge in data puts a stress on IT and security to have the right systems, the right partners, and the right protocol in place to safely support capture, storage, and protection of data assets.

And, it’s not just security measures that are stressed. Time to deployment is paramount. When it comes to requests for IT support, such as setting up a new application server, expectations have gone from months to minutes! In the past, there was a wait while resources were secured—selecting and ordering hardware—then installing. Now resource availability can be almost instantaneous. These expectations are made realistic by company provided service catalogs or externally available cloud resources. As external cloud resources are consumed, more control is outside of IT which propagates data sprawl plus adds more security stress.

In this challenging environment, IT must step up to provide and protect sensitive corporate information. It is critical to have a security and compliance plan across all platforms, networks, and locations. IT must manage every device and every application that accesses corporate data assets. To facilitate this, cStor has made investments in our capabilities in the areas of security, cloud, and services.

Cloud has evolved to be the next infrastructure consumption model. Meaning that cloud provides easier consumption of data center resources (with our without local IT) with near instant time to deployment and direct access to a resulting infrastructure. And, often times, this is accomplished with a public cloud where someone else needs to provide the infrastructure.

Cloud is key to delivering infrastructure required for business today. Moving services to the cloud and securing assets in a more and more mobile world enables employee’s efficiency.

With data surge and cloud comes data sprawl—and data is not just in-house any more. While this assists with accessibility, flexibility, scalability, and backup of information, this sprawl brings its own security challenges. Where is the data and how do we protect it?  How do we take the security we have in our private data center and apply it in the offsite cloud?  When servers and services are migrated from the datacenter into the cloud, is everyone taking measures to ensure that the servers and services are still as secure?  It’s happening today.  Company owned intellectual property is now in the cloud and securing that content just like it was in your data center is a pressure for every CIO and every IT department.

Cloud is the ‘Easy Button’ for consuming resources. When consumed properly, cloud can deliver incredible business advantage. But when consumed hastily, cloud can expose the business to additional risk.

Today data center product and service providers must stay a step ahead of the cloud and security evolution to help companies navigate this new complex environment and continue to achieve desired business outcomes.

User expectations are to have data access with no limits.  This doesn’t always align with IT’s existing infrastructure and security, regulation, and compliance requirements. The direction of cStor is to be a partner with our clients bringing the newest technologies with comfort of data properly secured and appropriately managed.

cStor is committed to staying a step ahead so we can help our clients navigate these areas, make educated choices, and implement optimal solutions.

Again, the business outcomes are the same for clients, but how to achieve those outcomes has drastically changed. And we are on top of the emerging frontier, every step of the way. cStor is evolving to stay ahead in the expanding frontier. That means meeting needs today and preparing for that which is to come.

Pete Schmitt
About Pete Schmitt
As the lead for cStor technology and engineering, Pete researches new and emerging technology to ensure that his team is at the forefront of technology trends and best practices so that they can deliver the best possible technological solutions to cStor customers. He brings an extensive background in information technology, customer service, and professional services and is known for delivering second-to-none customer experiences—a philosophy that is directly attributable to cStor’s long-standing success and reputation.

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