By Andy Hardy, Managing Director of International Sales, Dell Compellent

Everyone knows that the economic landscape has changed since the 2008 financial crisis. Unsurprisingly, business leaders remain cautious as the economy continues to tread water. Even with the glimmer of light that the UK might be slowly coming out of recession, it is clear that there is no returning to “business as usual”.

The ongoing discussion around the economic downturn is continuing to cause a significant shift in IT priorities, which is having a knock on effect on budgets. The problem with this is that while budgets remain tight, business critical data, the information needed to run your business on a day-to-day basis, continues to grow rapidly. Adding to the problem is the expectation that many UK businesses are rapidly running out of space and power; demand is increasingly outstripping the supply.

It is time for companies to face up these challenges and look for ways to make their organisations more efficient. Eliminating the complexity of traditional storage systems is a good place to start. New storage technologies which feature storage virtualisation, thin provisioning and automated tiered storage can help to achieve this at the same time as offering innovation, ease of use and cost savings.

By virtualising storage, businesses can consolidate resources and reduce hard disk costs while dramatically increasing storage flexibility. Storage virtualisation magnifies the benefits of server virtualisation, but in many cases it also provides the lifeblood that drives a virtualised IT infrastructure.

Thin provisioning helps improve the storage and flow of data within an organisation. Administrators can create virtual storage volumes of any size, but will only consume physical capacity when the data is actually written to disk. In many instances, this allows businesses to reclaim up to 60 percent of disk space that was wasted due to pre-allocating capacity that is never used

With automated tiered storage, data is actively and intelligently managed depending on how frequently it is accessed. Business critical data will be kept on the fastest, most accessible storage drives, but infrequently-accessed information, which typically accounts for 80 percent of all business data, is automatically moved onto cheaper disks.

Since most data is inactive, organisations can reduce disk expenditures by an average of 80 percent with automated tiered storage. Regardless of which tier the data is stored on, it remains readily available to the user. The feature also eliminates the need to manually move data between storage tiers, a significant time saving for most businesses.

All in all, these three technologies offer a huge increase in storage efficiency. They also bring the additional benefit of environmental savings, as businesses are able to reduce the amount of physical equipment in their organisation, thereby cutting power and cooling costs.

As the country emerges into the new economic landscape, its clear organisations need to view the recession as a wake up call to overhaul the way they look at their storage solutions. Businesses need to recognise that a technology that can scale up and out with their business over the next ten years and beyond is the smart way to survive.

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