June 13, 2022
Storage as a service (STaaS), the next big “as-a-service” trend, promises to deliver the best of both worlds—balancing the flexibility and agility of the cloud with the security and compliance benefits of having the storage systems in the data center.
With STaaS, the storage provider maintains ownership of the system, and the customer has exclusive use to the capacity, paying only for what is used each month in a consumption-based pricing agreement. The move toward STaaS is part of a megatrend that’s gaining significant momentum – making all data center IT resources more cloud-like to enable the shift to hybrid cloud. In fact, analysts predict 90% of storage and managed service workloads will be hybrid IT by 2025.
STaaS enables organizations to scale capacity up and down at will depending on their needs. This is what is known as consumption-based pricing (CBP) and it enables costs to be directly aligned with business use. And, because STaaS is physical storage in the data center, the data remains behind the company’s firewall, dedicated to the organization, and tailored to its specific application and business requirements.
While savings from CBP can be a primary motivator behind a shift to STaaS, there are other advantages that emerge with use. For example, the increased flexibility over conventional storage system purchasing is reported to be one of the most compelling advantages. Organizations using STaaS see the benefits of being able to deploy new applications, manage unpredictable resource usage and volatile capacity requirements with much greater ease and agility.
The Truth About OPEX vs. CAPEX
The initial attraction of STaaS is that consumption-based pricing is a pure economic shift from traditional capital expenditure to an operational expense. The truth is that it is so much more than that. A closer look at the activities of storage managers and storage administrators will reveal the advantages of the as a service model.
Traditional storage purchases require detailed predictions about the quantity and type of storage resources that will be needed by a business. New systems bring powerful capabilities that may be initially unfamiliar. Modern systems generate tons of useful information needed to consistently meet SLA’s and monitor compliance. The reality is that most organizations spend far too much time on these activities—with storage managers and administrators focused so much on keeping systems running that they have little time to focus on how IT might better support the business.
STaaS can change all of this. A STaaS provider ensures that the basic system operations are taken care of and that capacity is at the ready when needed. A superior STaaS provider will also deliver automation, monitoring and reporting and predictive analytics to provide the valuable insights needed to make a bigger impact on the business.
The Three Big Advantages
In summary, the three big advantages of STaaS are consistent with what we expect from anything as a Service (XaaS).
1. Substantial savings from consumption-based pricing (CBP) eliminates the cost of reserve capacity, “what if we have a spike in resource demand” capacity, and capacity needed for future growth that must be in place, but you may not need.
2. Increased flexibility, more consistent service levels and lower operational costs from shifting operational responsibility to the provider for the maintenance and management of the physical system and meeting service level requirements.
3. Valuable knowledge and insights that give storage manages and administrators superpowers to run a business. This data and system intelligence provides more clarity into the how, what, and why--the data fuels the business so IT managers and administrators are empowered to support the business.
STaaS has proven to be a game-changing experience for organizations looking to balance the business needs for dedicated, private IT resources with the flexibility and agility of cloud storage. A key enabler for the hybrid cloud transformation that is well underway to drive new competitive advantages, greater business agility, more efficient business operations and improved customer relationships.
Dan McConnell is Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Infrastructure, Hitachi Vantara.
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