Vendors are Focused on Improving the Enterprise Storage Ownership Experience

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprise storage vendors continue to deliver innovation. DCIG recently updated its enterprise storage research and then compared the results with data from nine months ago. It quickly became evident that many storage vendors are focused on enhancing the ownership experience.
This article focuses on two feature areas that demonstrate these advances:

  • Acquisition and deployment options
  • Predictive analytics capabilities

Improving the Ownership Experience through Flexible Acquisition and Deployment Options

Chart of change in support for Acquisition and Deployment Options November 2019 through July 2020New acquisition and employment options give enterprises the flexibility to deploy enterprise storage capabilities wherever they are needed. Vendors delivered the biggest change through their storage as a service (STaaS) offerings. The percentage of arrays available as STaaS on-premises nearly doubled from 24% in November of 2019 to 46% in July 2020.
STaaS enables enterprises to treat the storage as an operational expense (OPEX) rather than capital expense (CAPEX). It also enables enterprises to consume on-premises storage as flexible capacity, very much like the public cloud. In most cases the vendor is responsible to keep the array available and up to date. Enterprise IT still manages storage volumes for its applications, but the vendor manages the underlying array.
Vendors also substantially increased their software-defined storage capabilities in the cloud. The option to deploy the storage system as a public cloud instance increased from 10% in 2019 to 18% today. This approach to STaaS generally includes all the data services that enterprises have come to rely upon, now available in the public cloud.
Starting from a smaller base of just 5%, the opportunity to consume enterprise storage as a cloud volume without having to manage an array instance doubled to 10%. This capability can accelerate enterprise cloud adoption and corporate initiatives that are based on public cloud services. Cloud volumes also put enterprise storage capabilities within reach of organizations that have not invested in enterprise infrastructure. These businesses can provision enterprise-class storage from within familiar cloud management interfaces.
DCIG also measured a small amount of growth in the number of arrays with vendor managed cloud volumes available. Although this started from a larger base of 19% it grew just 3% with 22% of enterprise storage arrays now having this option.

Improving the Ownership Experience through Predictive Analytics and Proactive Support

Vendors are clearly investing in predictive analytics, especially in connection with proactive support. Vendors delivered double-digit growth in six different predictive analytics and proactive support features.
Chart of change in support for Predictive Analytics and Proactive Support November 2019 through July 2020The low hanging fruit in this space is automated case creation based on fault data. This feature was already available on 71% of the enterprise storage arrays in 2019, vendors grew it another 19%. Now 90% of all enterprise storage arrays offer this capability. Automated case creation improves up-time by alerting support personnel–whether employed by the vendor or the enterprise—as soon as a problem occurs.
Many vendors moved beyond the basics and now use predictive analytics to optimize workload performance. This capability saw a 19% increase since 2019. More than three fourths of all enterprise storage arrays now offer this capability.
Vendors grew their proactive support offerings, whether based on fault data or predictive analytics, by 16% and 11% respectively. Both now stand at 68%.
The number of arrays offering tailored software upgrades quadrupled from 5% to 20%. This capability is important because it helps enterprises avoid the harm caused by installing software upgrades that are incompatible with some aspect of the infrastructure.

Expect More from your Storage Vendor

Many vendors are offering a growing set of flexible acquisition and deployment options, and enhancing the ownership experience through predictive analytics and proactive support. These advances are improving up-time and eliminating storage management overhead. Enterprise technologists should evaluate these capabilities when selecting any enterprise storage solution and expect more from their vendors.
DCIG will continue to cover developments in enterprise storage. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for the weekly DCIG Newsletter so that we can keep you informed of these ongoing developments.

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