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May 05 2017

Unchain Your Data with FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS DX S4 (Part 1 of 2)

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The trend towards digital transformation of the global economy is in full swing. Throughout the industries, companies are reshaping their business models to remain competitive in increasingly fast-paced environments that rely on smooth and rapid data processing. In this big rush, it doesn't really matter which size they are or what they do – sooner or later the trend will catch up with them, regardless of whether they're multi-billion dollar outfits in the automotive or pharmaceutical sector, successful online retailers, or simply the bricklayer next door whose 15 employees work five different construction sites. The only difference is that smaller companies will be the first to suffer if they can't handle their data efficiently. Fujitsu's new, fourth generation of ETERNUS DX storage arrays are designed to help SMEs meet this challenge and a few others.

One of the most popular criticisms of the IT industry says it has a habit of keeping itself and its customers in some sort of semi-permanent high alert state. Subscribers to this theory believe that this "alarmism" is nothing but a seemingly clever, though often imprudent marketing strategy that only serves to lure users into buying technology they don't understand in order to solve problems that they don't even know exist. While most experts will find this claim a little crude, there can be no denying that it strikes a chord with potential customers who have a hard time figuring out which of the numerous weak spots in their infrastructures they should fix first. Per our experience, this kind of bewilderment is most common among SMEs that can only employ few and/or inexperienced IT staffers, although it may befall larger organizations as well. In all of these cases, Fujitsu's mission and that of our channel partners is to help companies prioritize their issues and then solve them one by one. Needless to say, there's no standard method to solve all problems, as every network has its own shortcomings. But helpfully, there are also a few key areas that are always worth looking at – one of which is storage and data management.

Storage Challenges for SMEs
So, which are the most common data protection issues SMEs are facing today, and which are most likely to come up somewhere along the way to growth and success? Together with our customers and channel partners, we at Fujitsu have identified five main challenges that companies ought to address either immediately or in the near future:

  • Unplanned/unexpected data growth – The ongoing digitization of business processes means that all organizations will sooner or later be confronted with an upsurge in information – such as customer and employee data, R & D documents, and court filings – that they could not prepare for at the onset. Case in point: Today's retailers and artisans almost always run their own web shops and/or mobile apps to attract more customers. This will not necessarily result in global reach, but taking orders from and carrying out transactions with thousands of local or regional customers inevitably means that at some point their initial storage solution will no longer be large enough to digest any more data. To avoid running into a brick wall, they need a storage system that grows with their business.
  • Data leakage and unauthorized access – According to conventional IT wisdom, data is the lifeblood of every modern enterprise. This axiom may not be applicable in every firm, especially where people and their skills are the main asset. But even in these cases, the sudden exposure or loss of sensitive company information from the above categories can have dire consequences, as customers may simply decide to stay away from an untrustworthy environment and spend their money elsewhere. A reliable storage solution should therefore always include or support a number of protective mechanisms that assure data can't be tampered with, for example multi-factor authentication, strict authorization policies, and encryption.
  • Business continuity and data availability – Aside from unintended leakage and criminal attacks, companies are also facing more 'natural' risks, such as system crashes, power outages, fires, floods, earthquakes, and the like. To ensure such events won't render them unable to do business, not even for the shortest time period, companies must deploy storage systems that offer sufficient backup and recovery functionalities, including snapshots, remote replication and/or clustering.
  • Support for new business capabilities and services – Until about 15 years ago, many SMEs had serious reservations about the so-called Internet revolution and its consequences. Today, most businesses have fully embraced the trend: As noted above, it is now fairly common to run a web shop, a mobile app, or both. Moreover, the majority is constantly trying to improve or expand its services, e.g. by opening up new communication channels for customers and mobile workers, introducing new payment methods (bitcoin), etc. Needless to say, such new services generate new data, so that companies that follow this path will need a storage platform that's not only scalable, but at the same time flexible enough to support a steadily growing set of applications.
  • Ensuring efficiency – While all of the above are reasonable goals, they're not necessarily easy to achieve, as proper retention, management and protection of valuable information usually presents a significant cost factor. The key problem for most SMEs is that their IT budgets often times are not just limited in size, but – figuratively speaking – a skin-tight fit. In other words, they need to find a storage platform that not only meets ambitious business and technical demands, but remains affordable for the foreseeable future.

Fujitsu's latest, fourth generation of ETERNUS DX arrays was designed with these requirements in mind. They retain all the core characteristics of their predecessors and add a truckload of new and advanced features – in particular, they pave the way to implementing flash/hybrid storage at a reasonable price. Exactly how this works will be explained in part 2 of our feature.

René Hübel

 

About the Author:

René Hübel

Senior Product Marketing Manager Storage Solutions 

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