Author: Terry Buchanan

Data Center Storage Futures

Data storage technology is taking a giant leap in evolution, offering the most powerful capabilities the world has yet to see, in compact form, here are some highlights you need to know about the future of data storage technology and what it means for you.

Storage Density

Less is about to become more in terms of size, with mind-blowing speed, performance and storage capacity. The biggest change you can expect from data storage technology in the future is the physical size of the storage technologies. The industry is beginning to roll out astonishingly compact storage devices that will have you wondering how you ever survived with a hard drive, USB stick or floppy drive.

What’s so revolutionary about this new technology isn’t necessarily the size but rather, the power that can be found in such density.

HCI Footprint

The new, compact storage devices will play a significant role for the HCI footprint, allowing you to plug more into your integrated server via the new infrastructure. Previously, you had a select few options to increase storage. You could update an existing HCI node via swapping or adding an HDD or SDD, in order to increase storage or you could add a storage-heavy node to increase storage but it would come with limited compute.

With the revolutionary new storage technologies, you can expect the highest density the industry has seen. The traditional Tier-3 storage architectures have already been knocked down to more than 16:1 consolidation ratios for customers and the future of storage is expected to double the current capacity.

To put it into perspective, Nutanix 2U block/chassis structure in 2015 offered 4 host servers with a max of 16.6TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center. Today, the same 4-node Nutanix 2U block offers 55.6TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center. This is a 315% increase in storage density.

Come the future, if HCI technology begins to incorporate the anticipated 20TB HDDS for enterprise use, it is expected that the Nutanix 2U structure will have a minimum 200% increase in storage density, offering 111.2TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center.  We say, bring it on!


HAMR is predicted to follow in suit with the new data storage changes, bringing hard drives that use Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) to the forefront. This is a significant change from Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), a method used almost exclusively prior to the introduction to HAMR.

Advantages of HAMR over PMR

HAMR offers immense storage capacity and storage density that simply isn’t offering in PMR form, so much so that they’re on track to providing 20TB drives by 2019, with a predicted 30% compound annual growth rate in data density moving forward. By 2023, you can expect to see 40TB or higher by 2023. To put it into perspective, that’s an improvement of 10X over PMR drives.

Additionally, HAMR drives offering more reliability due to the glass media used in their manufacturing. Each part that makes up a HAMR drive gets be heated and cooled in a nanosecond, and although a laser diode is used during the writing process, it has no impact on the temperature, stability or reliability. As a result, HAMR offers trustworthy technology the industry has yet to see.

From floppy disks to zip drives, USB sticks and hard drives, data storage technologies have come a long way in a significantly short period and it’s not about to end. 2018 starts the beginning of a revolutionary technology that will inevitably shape the future and the way businesses operate moving forward. It will be interesting to see where the physics of RAID algorithms fair compared to companies opting for distributed file systems which offer faster rebuild times. Whilst Zycom is eager to deploy and play with these forecasted larger data drives for HCI in particular, we do so with extreme curiosity for the results of rebuild times in RAID versus DFS.


Cloud First Strategy Is A Good One But Which Cloud? Private, Public or Hybrid?

In the past, businesses had no other option but to run applications and programs on software that was downloaded onto either a physical computer or a server in the business. This restricts access, control and flexibility, as well as many other features which are crucial to maintaining precedence in the digital age of today. As such, cloud computing software is a necessity for businesses, particularly those undergoing an IT and workforce transformation. However, determining which one to go with – private, public or hybrid – can be a difficult task without the known benefits or said differently, without knowing the bottom line impact of each.
To ensure you make the best choice for your business – and to save you an abundance of time of research, here is your quick guide to private, public and hybrid clouds, and what is provided from each.

Public Clouds Are Not the Most Affordable Option

Chances are, you already use public clouds in either your personal or professional life, as they’re one of the more popular options for both businesses and individuals. Public clouds were also the first to come along, offering quick, free and easy sharing of data via platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox that revolutionized technology.
One of the biggest misconceptions about using public clouds is that they’re the most affordable option, and sometimes, they can be used entirely free depending on how much data you’re storing. However, Zycom has proven that public clouds are not cheaper than on-premise private cloud for predictable workloads running on HCI. In fact, on-premise, cloud-ready platforms like Nutanix, are more cost-effective than putting workloads into a hyper-scaler cloud for the same predictable mission-critical workload once all costs are ascertained.
That said, there are great use cases for public cloud like development workloads, backup, disaster recovery and any use case that requires elasticity of performance requirements. And never mistake the high adoption of office productivity suites in the Cloud like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Suite.

The True Cost of the Cloud

With the prior mentioned, there are various factors to consider when determining the actual cost of Cloud ownership for both local servers and cloud infrastructures. Take a look at the different on-premise services for predictable workloads and cloud considerations like network and security architecture, to evaluate to discover the true total cost of ownership.

On-Premise Costs

On-premise infrastructure features and costs vary from that of a cloud-based infrastructure and it’s imperative to understand what this technology brings to your business in order to know the true cost of total ownership. Here are many of the things to consider:
• Cost of replacement parts
• Cost of maintenance (labour expenses)
• Initial hardware costs of storage and servers versus cost for HCI
• Resilient hardware costs if you receive high availability
• Power and cooling technology expenses
• Software update costs
• Software licensing costs
• Cost of multiple IT staff members
• Disaster recovery and off-site survivability costs

Cloud-Based Costs

Long-term, cloud costs can be higher than on-premises services but such is not always the case. Again, it comes down to the various factors that contribute to the total cost of ownership. As such, here are some of the things to consider:
• Length of ownership/usage (costs more over time)
• Cost of time spent looking for a third-party provider
• Cost of downtime when outages occur
• Cost of lost business and productivity if service level doesn’t meet your standards
• Failure to pay can result in loss of data
• Costs to maintain and manage workloads (this never goes away)
• Unpredictable and unexpected spikes in costs due to data usage
• Cost of WAS connectivity and resiliency multiple users having access to the cloud
• Resiliency in terms of replicating workloads to another cloud to equal on-premise resiliency

Notably, one significant difference in the list of factors that make up the true total cost of ownership for on-premise infrastructures and cloud-based services is that:
• On-Premise costs are not as utility as cloud and required to maintain optimal operation
• Additional cloud costs are manageable and often, optional

Private vs. Public Clouds: Which One is Better?

Once you have gone through the various factors that contribute to the total cost of on-premise private cloud running on HCI and public cloud-based infrastructure, you likely have selected to opt for a combination of both driving your Hybrid cloud strategy. However, you then need to choose which private cloud or public cloud is the most ideal solution for your specific use cases. Here are some things to consider:

Private Clouds

For businesses who need more out of their virtual infrastructure, whether it’s more storage space, more capabilities, more control, etc., private clouds are often the recommended. However, they can come with a larger price, a price that may very well be worth it depending on your needs.
One major benefit to private clouds is the enhanced security measures that provide better protection of your business’ most crucial data, as the cloud is operating on-premise and is typically sized for predictable workloads. Private clouds also have customization options which provide you with greater control and access, custom security measures such as disaster recovery, increased flexibility, and custom networking components.
The downside to private clouds is that they aren’t for every business, historically due to cloud governance and skill sets internally to deploy. However, the initial cost can become more cost-effective than a public cloud utilizing HCI as your platform depending on the specifics of a business.

At the core of cloud, the private cloud is an essential building block to delivering hybrid services to your organization.

Hybrid Clouds

When considering which cloud computing service to implement, it’s important to consider the benefits of a hybrid cloud option which is where most Zycom customers are choosing.
Just as the name reads, this cloud solution is a combination of select features from both public and private cloud computing options. It has the pay-as-you-go flexibility that’s offered from a public cloud, with the increased security and control provided from a private cloud.
The disadvantage to using a hybrid cloud is that they often require complicated IT integration which can initially inflate the cost of using the best form both sides of cloud. There is also the vulnerability and security risks that come from the public cloud components.

Hybrid Cloud is driving the need for Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions to secure users and cloud-based applications. CASB offers a great deal of value in simplifying the integration of on-premise security with cloud and furthering the adoption of hybrid cloud strategies for customers.

Choosing between a public, private or hybrid cloud computing service depends highly on the infrastructure and necessities of your business. If you are a start-up with minimal overhead, a free cloud service that caters to predictable workloads may be ideal for you. However, if you are a large business or operate within a niche that is highly confidential, a private cloud could be the best option for you. It all comes down to the specifics.

Furthermore, there are various cloud infrastructures and features to choose from, such as the Nutanix cloud ready platform that connects customers to a public cloud to map the right solution to the proper workload/use case under one management platform, which can also be a driving factor in determining the best cloud strategy for your business.

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