To meet the changing requirements from various applications and comply with regulations that require data to be stored for longer periods of time, storage today needs to become 'application aware.' Leong Kam Hong, storage product director at Oracle Asia Pacific, explains what application aware storage system means and the benefits of having such a system.
What do you mean by storage systems that are application-aware?
Traditionally, storage systems have always been engineered to be general-purpose and designed to work with as many applications as possible. While this one-size-fits-all approach used to work well, applications are increasingly growing to have diverse and dynamic requirements that can no longer be met by current storage.
As such, it is evident that general-purpose storage no longer addresses the new era of application centricity and there is a need to evolve. Indeed, as businesses increasingly rely on enterprise and end-user applications to speed up operations, make better decisions and enhance the overall customer experience, it is critical that these applications are enabled and not hindered by storage systems.
This brings into play the emerging demand for 'application aware' storage systems. Unlike general-purpose storage systems that tend to be passive, application aware storage systems are equipped with built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilisation patterns and can thus optimise system performance accordingly. As such, application awareness can be particularly useful for boosting performance in storage-intensive tasks such as disaster recovery, replication, data modeling, and archiving, to name a few.
Why is there a need for storage systems to now be application-aware? How does it help to potentially bring down TCO and maximise ROI for a business' enterprise systems?
According to IDC, the APEJ (Asia Pacific excluding Japan) big data technology and services market is expected to hit US$1.76 billion by 2016, with storage (56.1 percent) being the segment that will experience the highest growth rate[i].
Indeed, as data becomes increasingly valuable, the need for data insurance has also become pertinent. Businesses are increasingly demanding for data storage systems to evolve beyond simple data targets to deal with issues such as data protection, as well as disaster tolerance and recovery.
This has inadvertently led to the demand for application-aware storage systems. Fundamentally, by allowing businesses to respond automatically and in real-time to the needs of applications, such infrastructure removes the need for the intervention of a system admin or costly system downtime to manually reconfigure storage needs. Also, the dynamic ability to perform optimally in accordance to changes in applications leads to enhanced application performance, higher storage efficiency and reduced risk at all times. Therefore, it has the potential to bring down TCO and ultimately maximise ROI for businesses.
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