The Two Most Important Things That Come Up about Storage with End-users and Partners
A substantial shift has happened in the enterprise storage industry over the last 12 months that has changed dialogue about storage. In past years, the first conversations with enterprise storage buyers were about cost efficiency and performance. However, today, the two most important things that come up first in storage conversations are cybersecurity and delivery time. This is a radical change that is redefining strategic planning and purchasing of enterprise storage solutions.
Storage has become part of a bigger conversation that an increasing number of decision-makers in enterprises are recognizing. It’s as if customers are waking up to a new reality – a new normal – that storage needs to be a core component of an enterprise’s corporate cybersecurity strategy, and lead times for delivery of products are longer or, at a minimum, vary by vendor. One vendor may provide products in weeks, while another vendor will need to take many months to deliver complementary products for an end-to-end solution. Because of this, enterprise buyers and IT solution providers, who provide solutions to enterprise buyers, need to think differently.
In the past, customers and prospective customers who were interested in buying storage solutions were quick to talk about capacity, speed, IOPS, workloads, and application profiles. Storage cybersecurity would not even be discussed until the 8th conversation or later. Yet, in 2022, the first three conversations are laser focused on cybersecurity and how storage is a critical element of an overall corporate cybersecurity strategy.
The realization that primary and secondary storage are integral to a strong enterprise cyber security posture, including immutable snapshots, fast recovery, fenced-in forensic environments and more, casts a wide net for the one thing that keeps C-level executives and IT leaders up at night – cyber resilience (or, rather, the lack of it).
If an enterprise does not have the proper level of cyber resilience built into its storage and data infrastructure, there is a huge gap. This is why, on average, it takes an organization nearly 300 days to figure out if they have even been infiltrated by a cybercriminal. In the work that Infinidat has done to help large enterprises increase their cyber resilience, we have learned what it takes to bring storage and cybersecurity together for an end-to-end approach.
Of course, consolidation and its dramatic impact on capital and operational expense structures are still part of these conversations in the storage market, too. As enterprises upgrade to improve their cybersecurity, they are also using the opportunity to consolidate from a high number of arrays to Infinidat’s petabyte-scale arrays. Instead of having 50 arrays that have been built up over time, they can consolidate and use a few Infinidat arrays, while getting greater capacity, better availability, unmatched real-world application performance, and higher storage cybersecurity. Consolidation is also a major factor in advancing green IT efforts – less use of power, cooling, floor space, and resources.
Partners need to talk about storage cyber resilience and consolidation with customers, hand-in- hand. But they also need to tackle the other big conversation-starter glaring at us in the face – namely, the supply chain challenge that is affecting delivery times. Customers and partners must embrace the mindset that strategic planning needs to be done earlier, and decisions will need to be made quicker. My message to customers and partners – for their own benefit – is this: talk to their suppliers earlier than they previously have.
Infinidat customers have been benefitting with us. Infinidat has been doing a great job managing the supply chain and being able to deliver storage solutions faster than suppliers of other types of IT products, such as servers or switches. But since the supply chain crunch has its ups and downs for all companies (as no vendor is totally immune to vicissitudes), it is smart to talk to us and your other suppliers earlier, so you will not get hit head-on with a supply chain issue.
Channel partners have an important role to play if end-user customers are already experiencing supply chain issues. While Infinidat is able to deliver in a matter of weeks, a server vendor may be saying it will be 9 months before the new servers will arrive. The storage platforms cannot be utilized until the servers are installed. So, this is where a partner can step up and find practical solutions to get servers from another source in, for example, a third of the time.
Customers should be working closely with their partners and suppliers to be creative about how to speed up delivery timelines. It may sound very hard work, but it will actually help prevent bigger problems down the road. There are customer ordering products now, but those products won’t arrive until September. They are thinking ahead. They are accelerating decisions as they map out and fulfill their strategic plans.
The functioning of their business depends on these technical and business decisions. You don’t want to have to face an irate CEO who wants to know why you can’t get IT products that are necessary to support the next phase of the company’s digital transformation initiative or elevation of DevOps or help them thwart malware and ransomware threats. You don’t want to have to explain to the Board of Directors why the data infrastructure could not scale. You don’t want to have to face fines from a government for failure to ensure cyber resilience, leading to the exposure of sensitive data. Don’t get caught digitally flat-footed.