The right storage solution is key to a profitable, differentiated IaaS offering

The right storage solution is key to a profitable, differentiated IaaS offering
Image: Hayden Sadler, Country Manager for South Africa at Infinidat

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) supports the flexibility and scalability businesses need today, while reducing capital expenses – a factor that is increasingly important in the current challenging economic climate.

High performance, highly available and reliable storage are critical to delivering enterprise-grade managed services from the cloud. Storage is a central component of an IaaS offering, as it impacts these critical elements.   

Noisy neighbours equals unhappy IaaS customers

As IaaS providers grow, customer demand for performance increases, and keeping pace with the scalability required from storage can be challenging. In addition, many traditional storage architectures require multiple storage tiers, creating disparate service levels, making it impossible to offer a true multi-tenant environment. 

This leads to the development of ‘noisy neighbours’, where a tenant of an IaaS cloud computing service monopolises the infrastructure and resources, negatively affecting other customers. When one co-tenant uses more than its ‘fair’ share, other tenants and applications that share the infrastructure experience degraded cloud network functionality.  

A typical solution is to move the customer onto Solid State Drive (SSD) storage, but this involves manual migrations and has a significant cost impact, driving up the fee of service to customers. It also adds even more complexity with yet another storage tier, which becomes increasingly difficult to manage as IaaS providers grow. To deliver effective, innovative and differentiated services, IaaS providers need cost effective, intelligent, multi-petabyte (PB) storage.  

Simplified, segregated, superior

The ability to effectively segregate customers is critical to ensuring that they all obtain the performance levels and capacity required. While high speed and high availability are a prerequisite for IaaS providers, predictable storage costs are equally important in delivering cost effective services and solutions. The ability to provision this through a single storage tier simplifies matters significantly. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can deliver a new layer of intelligence to software-defined storage by continuously learning and adapting to data usage patterns. This ensures higher cache hit rates and extreme performance that is faster than all-flash, but at a cost that is comparable with disk storage arrays.

In addition, IaaS providers and their customers benefit from zero-impact snapshots, dependable active/active, synchronous and asynchronous replication. Reliability and data security are guaranteed, with triple redundancy controllers that effectively support IaaS provider business.  

Success in the IaaS market requires a combination of high speed, innovative storage and above all, attractive pricing. Finding the right storage vendor that enables IaaS service providers to build and scale differentiated, profitable solutions, supported by efficiency, performance, and resiliency is a prerequisite for growth and a better Customer Experience (CX).

In addition, flexible business models should make it easy for service providers to operationalise those platform advantages. Using intelligent storage solutions, IaaS providers can unlock greater scale and profitability through high performance, cost effective, differentiated service offerings.

By Hayden Sadler, Country Manager for South Africa at Infinidat