Storage Joins the Cloud, Virtualization & Big Data

By Tony Kontzer  |  Posted 2013-03-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cloud and virtualization technology

A new generation of flexible storage technologies is helping organizations get a handle on their ever-growing data flows and put that data in the hands of users.

By Tony Kontzer

It's not every day that the IT storage community can claim to be on the cutting edge, but this is one of those days.

Whether we're talking about the cloud, virtualization or big data, storage has emerged as an important component in today's hottest technology trends. Industry experts say these new technologies have enabled the storage industry to overcome an era of difficult-to-integrate silos that made getting at the right data a challenge.

"It's so exciting to see it all come together," says Greg Schulz, senior advisor for Server and StorageIO, an IT infrastructure consultancy. "It used to be together, but it got all broken apart."

What follows are three tales of organizations that have taken advantage of storage innovation in the cloud, in software-defined virtual environments and to contend with big data—all in an effort to use data more effectively, and to make themselves more nimble and competitive.

Cloud Storage

Like many organizations, Weitz, a commercial construction firm, has seen an explosion in demand for mobile access to data over the past couple of years. But the De Moines, Iowa-based company's attempts to satisfy that demand underscored a weakness it had to address: Its aging document management system wasn't up to the task of rendering files on tablets and smart phones.

That shortcoming had spurred numerous field workers to start using consumer cloud service Dropbox, which enabled easy access to copies of photos, building plans and virtual models via its mobile application. This introduced a new problem: Having multiple versions of this information scattered on various Dropbox accounts—totally out of the company's control—represented a serious discovery risk should Weitz have to respond to potential litigation.

"We had to find something that would offer the same functionality, but that we could also manage," says Karmyn Babcock, IT director.



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Tony has been writing about technology and business for nearly 20 years and currently freelances from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having spent the dot-com boom and bust years in Silicon Valley, he's had a front-row seat for the evolution of the technologies that have been the foundation of IT-powered business—from the growth of client/server computing, through the birth of the commercial Internet, to the emergence of cloud computing and social media. He has been a regular contributor to CIO Insight and Baseline Magazine since 2007, and he posts frequently on CIO Insight's BizTech 3.0 blog. A 1988 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, Tony spends his spare time relaxing with his wife, playing with his two sons, tinkering around his home in Albany, Calif., and, when time allows, playing saxophone and traveling. His somewhat infrequent Twitter posts can be found at http://twitter.com/tkontzer.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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