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Nexsan 2017 Predictions: Ever heard of a Mobile Datacenter? Watch for it in 2017

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Geoff Barrall, Chief Technology Officer at Nexsan

Ever heard of a Mobile Datacenter? Watch for it in 2017

In 2016 we saw some major players make some major moves to be better prepared to meet customer demand for the private cloud components of hybrid environments. We heard, for example, that vSphere-based cloud services will run on AWS in 2017. Private cloud adoption, both on its own and as part of hybrid cloud infrastructures, will far and away out-pace the growth of strictly public cloud environments because there will always be, no matter how far into the future we look, data that is too sensitive to trust to public cloud services. This will be especially true for large organizations. But what does this mean for file, sync and share (FSS)? Does a private or hybrid vs. strictly public cloud strategy limit FSS capabilities and the efficiencies that come with them? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is, not necessarily.

Each year, especially with the likes of ever-expanding social media, IoT and robotics data, data becomes more and more crucial to business operations. 2017 and the coming years will be no different. With this and a rapidly expanding millennial workforce in mind, the demand to access any data across multiple devices, at any time, will only grow. Furthermore, a large percentage of companies operate from multiple locations with remote and mobile employees making up a large portion of the workforce. For businesses to get ahead and succeed, it's crucial for their employees to be able to seamlessly share and access data so they can work collaboratively, without compromising on security and privacy. Organizations that don't have a secure and easy-to-use FSS system in place will lose out on productivity and new talent. And they'll create more shadow IT while they're at it.

So how do companies achieve this? Accessing company data seamlessly and efficiently from anywhere, without compromising security is certainly a challenge for both employees and IT staffs alike. The NAS storage solutions of today have not been able to keep up as they present serious gaps between the datacenter and connected mobile user. This gap will result in a shift that we'll start to see in 2017, where progressive companies will not just create secure FSS capabilities, but the best ones will be able to integrate those capabilities with companies' storage environments. This will enable access to corporate files and avoid damaging or duplicating files. Essentially, businesses need a truly mobile datacenter in order to meet the many, modern and connected workforce demands mentioned above. 

Employees have had to rely on insecure and inefficient USB sticks and e-mail for far too long as their go-to way to share files and data. And even with the introduction of public cloud as the new wave of sharing technology, there are still very real security issues with all of these methods. And to make matters worse, instead of implementing one unified solution, companies often rely on multiple solutions for storage, data management and FSS. What ends up happening is that IT teams find themselves cobbling together solutions that exist for individual requirements, but this is a very costly and inefficient way in which to build an IT environment. Furthermore, individual solutions are designed for specific requirements and will often not work in tandem with each other resulting in a hindrance to employees' remote access. So, employees find their own, insecure, ways to bypass restrictions by leveraging email or the public cloud, even for sensitive data.

The answer to these issues no longer sit within traditional FSS strategies. Even though users are able to share data, traditional solutions still don't allow for remote access to any data stored within a company's firewall. This not only hinders storage, but it limits productivity and creates frustration as it restricts how much data employees can access, use and store remotely. To have a truly competitive, prolific, effective workforce, enterprises today need to allow and encourage remote access. But what about the security risk? The answer is integration. Security is certainly a priority, but it needs to integrate with storage, capacity and remote access to give organizations the ability to have truly mobile datacenters in 2017.

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About the Author

As a board member and former CEO of Connected Data, Geoff brings over 20 years of experience to Nexsan as an entrepreneur, investor, and executive with a dozen storage-related patents to his credit. He has founded five companies and currently serves on the boards of a number of startups in the storage space. Prior to Connected Data (now part of Nexsan), Geoff founded Data Robotics - the makers of Drobo. Geoff also founded BlueArc (sold to Hitachi Data Systems in 2011) and served in various roles there including SVP Marketing, VP Engineering, and CTO. Geoff has served on the boards and advisory boards of many companies including Data Domain (acquired by EMC), Tacit Networks (acquired by Packeteer), Nevex (acquired by Intel) and Nexsan (acquired by Imation). Geoff earned his Ph.D. in Cybernetics from the University of Reading.

Geoff Barrall 

Published Thursday, December 29, 2016 7:03 AM by David Marshall
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