The storage virtualization layer is another strategic point of control in the data center where costs can be minimized and resource utilization maximized.

f5fridayIn olden times of lore, the king may have been top dog but it was the castellan through which one had to go to gain an audience or access to any one of his holdings. The castellan was a position of immense power and influence in the medieval hierarchy, responsible for managing the king’s castles and lands wherever they might be.

In modern times, if data is king then storage virtualization must be the castellan; the system through which data is managed and accessed, regardless of location. It’s a strategic point of control, an aggregation point, that affords organizations the opportunity to architecturally apply policies governing the storage and access of data. Tiering policies – whether across local storage systems or into the cloud – are best applied at a point in the architecture where aggregation via virtualization occurs. Not unlike global and local application delivery systems, storage virtualization systems like F5 ARX “virtualize” resources and provide more seamless scalability and management of those resources. With global and local application delivery those resources are most often applications – but also include infrastructure. With F5 ARX, those resources are storage systems – some costly, some not, some on-premise, some off. Aggregating those resources and presenting a “virtual” view of those resources to end-users means migration of data can be performed seamlessly, without disruption to the end-user. It’s a service-oriented approach to storage architectures that affords agility and automation in carrying out operational tasks related to data management.

That operational automation is increasingly important as the volume of data being stored, accessed and migrated to secondary and archive storage systems increase. Manual operations to archive, backup or replicate data would overwhelm storage professionals in the data center if they were to continue to keep pace with the explosive data growth experienced today.

DATA is KING

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the announcement: data is growing, astonishingly fast. Not just the data flowing over the wires but data at rest, in storage. It’s an exponential growth caused in part by retention policies atop the reality of growing numbers of users creating more and more data. 

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IBM calls out that, “83 percent of CIOs have visionary plans that include business intelligence and analytics, followed by mobility solutions (74 percent) and virtualization (68 percent).” cloud computing shot up in priority, selected by 45 percent more CIOs than the 2009 study.

But not everyone speaks the CIOs language. Translation – it’s no longer about the applications, it’s all about the data:

  • How to manage the data (there’s more data than ever to manage)
  • How to leverage the data (information about consumers, markets, opportunities)
  • How to integrate the data (across applications and devices)
  • How to store the data (cloud, cloud, cloud)
  • How to access the data (especially from mobile devices) 

-- Results of IBM’s CIO Study — Data is King

There’s more data, more often, that needs to be stored for more time. That means more disk, more network, and ultimately more costs. That’s where ARX – storage / file virtualization – comes in.

THE TAMING of the DATA

Tiering, consolidation and simplified access strategies can make more manageable the menagerie of data threatening to overwhelm the data center with time and money. Operational automation is as imperative to storage as it is to application deployment as a tactic to address the increasing demands for flexibility and responsiveness across all of IT. Internal and external forces of change are driving IT organizations to get more efficient and manage more effectively the resources as their disposal in such a way as to minimize total cost of ownership as well as operational expense. Applying intelligent, adaptable and more flexible policies at strategic points of control within the data center architecture can alleviate many expenses associated with long-term management and control of data – both in flight (application delivery) and at rest (storage).

This data explosion is not limited to large enterprises. Mid-sized enterprises are deluged with data as well. Keeping up with growth rates threaten to overrun budgets and overwhelm staff. Traditionally enterprise-class solutions are becoming more and more necessary at mid and even small-sized organizations to manage that data more efficiently.

quote-badge In today’s rapidly digitizing economy, small and mid-sized enterprises are dealing with exploding amounts of digital content and a growing range of data management challenges. 

-- Richard Villars, VP of Storage and IT Executive Strategies at IDC.

Unfortunately, even though mid-sized organizations may have enterprise-class needs, they are still constrained by mid-sized business budgets. Offerings capable of providing enterprise-class features and performance on a mid-sized budget are imperative to assisting organizations to address their burgeoning storage management needs. F5 now offers the ARX1500 and ARX2500 appliances,  providing small and mid-sized enterprises with advanced data management capabilities at attractive price points, along with superior scalability and performance levels.

Combined with F5 ARX Cloud Extender, which provides the means by which storage as a service can be leveraged in conjunction with storage virtualization and management solutions, the new ARX appliances offer a compelling solution for mid-sized organizations in need of a more holistic and effective data management strategy. The financial benefits of cloud computing combined with operational improvements from a comprehensive storage management strategy can provide a needed boost to enterprises of all sizes.

More on F5 ARX1500 and ARX2500

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