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How Storage as a Service Can Level the Playing Field for SMBs

Gary Lyng

Gary Lyng

Vice President Product and Solutions Marketing, Hitachi Vantara.

Gary Lyng is the Vice President of product and solutions at Hitachi Vantara. A senior executive with extensive experience in trailblazing business growth and leadership in enterprise software and data infrastructure markets, Lyng has driven innovative, award-winning products, teams and programs. Over his career, he has had senior leadership impact at SanDisk, and led product management at EMC, NetApp, Hewlett Packard. He was also GM at Veritas Software. Lyng has worked with both large and early-stage organizations developing business strategy, product direction and executing go-to-market strategies. He is a computer science graduate from Milton Keynes College, Bletchley, United Kingdom, which is situated next door to Bletchley Park, considered the birthplace of modern computing and the codebreakers.

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June 29, 2022

Capturing new business opportunities quickly—before an enterprise competitor gets a chance—requires small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to innovate and find more agile, flexible, and cost-effective solutions. And with analyst reports showing enterprise organizations increasing IT spend this year and next, the stakes have never been higher. In Spiceworks Ziff Davis’s recent The 2022 State of IT report, researchers found that nearly two-thirds of enterprises (64%) plan to raise IT budgets compared with 45% of SMBs. And most enterprises (61%) plan to increase the size of their IT department in 2022, compared to only 30% of SMBs

While enterprise businesses are able to invest more and increase internal resources quickly, savvy SME business leaders know that a major advantage lies in their agility. With an ability to move more quickly than a major enterprise, an SMB can be better poised to be disruptive. The trick is to balance the budget and performance equation. And on top of that, managing cloud storage systems is adding complexity that can put a dent in an SMB’s competitive advantage.

Cloud-Only Doesn’t Always Translate to Immediate Benefits for SMBs

Lack of technical expertise is slowing SMBs down.
TechRepublic research from last fall shows that SMBs are using cloud services, including storage more than ever before. According to the company, “A survey of 2,400 companies found that 65% of companies increased the use of cloud infrastructure solutions in 2020 but 86% said their usage went up in 2021.” However, lack of expertise is slowing their progress on their way to transformation especially as companies scale where complexity creep is typical.

Storage complexity creates management and security risks.
The research also indicates that SMBs are utilizing hybrid cloud at about the same pace as enterprises. Unlike enterprises however, SMBs’ main workload runs in public clouds (43%) vs. private clouds (35%), with a majority reliant on a multi-cloud strategy. While multi-cloud strategies create needed flexibility, they add considerable management complexity, adding to risk and expenses. These factors can neutralize the agility edge that SMBs have over enterprises.

Hard-won on-prem assets can’t simply be discarded.
Many SMBs have made a considerable investment in on-premises storage systems. While the move to cloud promises need flexibility, existing assets are still valuable and need to be integrated into the storage mix. On top of that, many SMBs rely on their on-prem servers for security and compliance concerns.

Storage as a Service Points the Way

Storage as a Service (STaaS) can help SMBs overcome the challenge of managing data growth and storage complexity. With the dynamic flow of data that SMBs experience, they need the flexibility to scale storage up and down regularly. STaaS with its low-commitment, risk-free model enables SMBs to pay for only the storage they use on a subscription basis. The resulting ability to move and capture business opportunities quickly is a critical advantage in today’s business world. STaaS also enables an SMB to protect existing investments by mixing on-premises with cloud—as well as leverage the managed service component to maximize their workforce and secure their business’s operations.

Maximizing Existing Investments in Support of Long-Term Planning

Existing on-prem storage is not something any business can easily relinquish. For an SMB the investment may have been especially hard won--but at the same time the competitive advantage that cloud storage offers is something that an SMB looking to become more competitive cannot ignore. With STaaS, an SMB has the ability to pick and choose—how they want to leverage different types of storage, when and where. And with consumption-based pricing it makes it ideal for cost-conscious SMBs wanting to tie storage costs to actual business goals and results. STaaS also supports a natural transition to full cloud adoption, if that is the eventual goal. It takes the first steps towards business operations that are less reliant on on-premises infrastructure.  

Off-Loading Management Tasks for a More Strategic Approach

Many SMBs have limited IT staffing and resources. Managing the day-to-day operations of STaaS can represent a real drain on resources—and towards an effort that often does yield much strategic benefit. A key benefit of STaaS is that it enables a business to keep control of data and storage in-house while shifting the burden of maintenance and support to a service provider. This aspect alone can be transformational for SMBs who can use these freed-up resource hours to focus on getting the most from their data and accessing insights that can drive more intelligent business decisions.

Making Downtime a Thing of the Past

A growing SMB—working to establish their business reputation and brand-- is especially vulnerable to the business impacts that storage downtime represents. With additional capacity at the ready (without the cost of paying for it ahead of time or the bother of not always finding a need for it) STaaS makes sense from a cost perspective while supporting business continuity. This, along with the fact that maintenance and support are managed by a vendor dedicated to maximizing up-time—with hardware and software updated regularly, remotely, and securely--make it an obvious choice for SMBs. 

STaaS is an ideal solution when considering an SMB’s business needs. Hitachi Vantara’s Storage as a Service (STaaS) solution is part of our Everflex offering and provides an ideal entry point into storage as a service through pre-package, pay-as-you go solutions. Custom STaaS services are also available as your needs change and grow. You can maintain on-premises systems for when you want more control while leveraging consumption-based storage when needed. This levels the playing field for SMEs, enabling them to take full advantage of their agility to capture new market share out of reach of larger and less agile competitors.

Learn more about Hybrid IT and Cloud Operations at Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure for the Data-Driven.

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