You know what it’s like when new technology hits the streets. You hear the buzz, check out the details, and then try to work out if it makes sense for you to use it. You look at how it might fit into your operations and maybe decide, “Yes, this looks like it’s a good fit for us.” Then the real challenge begins, how can I get hold of the budget to pay for this?
NVMe, the new storage protocol designed to increase storage performance and be ready for tomorrow’s solutions, has now reached this stage, according to research carried out by Freeform Dynamics.
For some of the current challenges in storage, making the business case for a budget request can be relatively straight forward, most notably when it comes to acquiring additional capacity. After all, if the storage systems are close to their limits, but users, customers and applications keep creating more data, there are only two choices: migrate data off the storage platforms, or acquire more capacity.
While the capabilities built into storage systems to help with data migration and archiving have improved greatly in recent years, asking to move data off active systems can generate significant user and business resistance. It is often simpler just to buy more storage, at least assuming you have the space and power to install the extra hardware.
This can provide a convenient way to introduce NVMe systems into your computer rooms or data centers, but it will likely be a slow way to get NVMe widely deployed. Another big opportunity to bring NVMe into play will be if you have to bring in new infrastructure to support a new application or if an application is undergoing a major update. But again, NVMe adoption will be limited to how fast your organization is undertaking such projects.
The main opportunity to get NVMe deployed widely and quickly will be if you have kit that is either reaching its financial write-off, or if there is funding to replace out-of-support platforms. All of these approaches are well understood.
The cost of doing nothing
But NVMe can provide another route through which to make the business case, and this involves recognizing that there are usually costs associated with taking the “do nothing” approach. NVMe can offer better performance and much lower latency for certain workloads, and improving service quality here can have visible business benefits.
For example, NVMe could bring the organization measurable financial benefits, if it enables the IT infrastructure to be more responsive to applications and users. This, in turn, can improve customer experience thereby increasing order conversion rates. Alternatively faster IT may allow more orders to be processed or facilitate faster analysis of business trends, enabling near-real-time actions to be taken as the business environment changes.
Some of these may not be areas that IT professionals will have explored in the past when making a business case for investment in storage, and they may be complex to quantify upfront. But as businesses look to become more agile and customer-centric, your storage platforms must be able to meet these new needs in terms of speed and responsiveness.
And one factor that is certain to make the business case easier to write is the fact that the price premium that NVMe products have over traditional SAS/SATA platforms continues to decrease. It may eventually even disappear. Are you ready for NVMe and for removing the storage investment woes?