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Storage Switzerland: Using Open Data Management to Enable IT Transformation

Analyst Report



Enterprises are looking for a way out. Out of the trap of a data center made up of closed systems and into a data center that is open so that they can drive down costs and be more responsive to the needs of the business. As data centers move to this new open frontier, data management remains a critical concern. Many of these open infrastructures are sorely lacking in terms of core data management capabilities. IT Professionals are looking for a data management solution that will not only provide the same capabilities that they are accustomed to in their legacy data center, but also assist them in making the transformation.

What is IT Transformation?

The traditional data center is a fragmented collection of technology silos that do not interoperate well. Within these silos are vendor specific software and hardware where the vendor is the only source of innovation. They are closed environments whose primary purpose is to lock the customer into a long-term relationship.

IT executives are embarking on IT transformation to a more open environment built on open software and hardware. This openness is not necessarily open source though; open in this context means that the vendor has provided free access to the data that they store. These vendors typically also provide an API, enabling external orchestration tools to automate the software’s use.

The IT Transformation Challenge

As IT executives embark on a transformation project, they are immediately faced with several fundamental challenges. First, many of these open solutions lack a basic data management and protection capability. Meaning that movement to these new platforms means manually cobbling together a data management process.

Second, moving data to these new platforms from legacy IT can be difficult, in terms of both data movement and storage capacity consumption. Each stage of the transformation requires copies of data, impacting networks and consuming capacity. Finally, even after an application has been transformed most organizations leave a copy of the legacy application running to retain access to old information. The result of this is that reduction of software licensing, one of the motivations for IT transformation is not achieved.

Legacy data management and protection solutions do not help with IT transformation. In fact, a case could be made that they are the epitome of the problem. For example, legacy backup solutions typically store backup information in a proprietary format and into a closed database. This private nature means that if an external application could access the data management software's data, it really could not do anything with it. Data management applications need to become much more open for them to become valuable to an IT transformation process.