Why is storage still so expensive and difficult to manage?
Storage is still waiting for its 'Apple moment', and is an area of technology crying out for disruption, according to a panel of experts speaking at Computing's IT Leaders Forum this week.
"It's still hard to do backup and still costs £60,000 for 12 terabytes of storage. Why is it so difficult?" asked Kevin Findlay, digital IT director at insurer Complete Cover Group.
The problem, he added, is that there hadn't yet been "an Apple moment in storage," suggesting that the area is ripe for disruption.
He continued: "We have to store data for our core insurance systems for seven years. For data, we might need more immediately [to provide pricing information to insurance aggregators], where we're quoting hundreds of thousands of prices per day. The question as to how it's stored, perhaps in a data warehouse or something else, is currently very topical."
Also on the panel was Matt Fordham, software-defined storage leader for IBM UK & Ireland, who acknowledged the issue.
"I hear that a lot, the Apple moment in storage. We get that message loud and clear. Quite often it's because there are so many vendors, and the messaging has become confused, especially around software-defined storage [SDS]."
He added that, from IBM's perspective, it has developed capabilities with SDS which enables clients to use its technology with existing storage, or across multiple vendors' platforms.
"What VMWare did to the x86 server market, we can bring a similar situation to the storage market. It's software which can go across many elements of your infrastructure. And if you want to start with block then move to object or file, you shouldn't be penalised," he said.
He continued by suggesting that the technology is now flexible enough to enable organisations to begin with one strategy, but then change tack and branch out into others without needing to throw away all their existing technology, migrate the data to new kit and start again.
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