Most organisations around the globe have been affected by the lockdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing them to rapidly deploy mobile workforce solutions to support remote staff in order to ensure business continuity, writes Hayden Sadler, Country Manager at Infinidat South Africa.
South African businesses have been equally impacted and they typically had to make new applications or workloads available to users who can no longer work on-site. This generally requires some changes and additions to storage infrastructure. However, it has given rise to the conundrum of how does a business increase their storage capacities and maintain their environment, if resources are not readily available onsite? The answer lies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and self-healing.
If we take a step back, the current situation has made it clear to organisations that they must be agile to cater for such unforeseen events. From an IT viewpoint, most businesses are looking to introduce greater flexibility into their technology infrastructure as part of their digital transformation strategies. The lockdown has highlighted just how quickly they have to make these changes, as and when required.
The impact on IT storage infrastructure has been no less profound. The problem is that if your storage infrastructure requires more capacity when these new workloads are delivered, it is virtually impossible for engineers to install on-site during the lockdown. As a result, storage infrastructure that has in-built capacity, as well as the ability to self-heal and self-tune must be considered.
Traditional storage challenges
Traditional storage infrastructure can support a mobile workforce but the challenge comes in when you have something like the outbreak of a pandemic and you have a very short timeframe to adapt to remote working. Since users can no longer come into the office, these new workloads must be created and additional capacity added but traditional storage cannot do that.
Someone would have to physically add capacity and tune and fix the hardware if there are performance issues or failures. However, this is not currently an option due to social distancing. Businesses need to look to intelligent storage solutions that allow remote engineers to perform their duties remotely. Furthermore, there needs to be capacity in reserve with the ability to add this capacity to new workloads that need to be deployed rapidly.
Intelligent storage solutions use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and feature self-healing capabilities that reduce support requirements as well as the need for on-site support and maintenance. If the system detects a problem, it can rely on its AI components and built-in cognitive experience from similar applications all over the world to make the necessary changes to itself without the need for any physical intervention.
Uptake of AI
The uptake of AI technologies has recently been accelerated due to the implementation of digital transformation strategies. These initiatives are being fast-tracked by organisations that are rethinking their digital roadmaps due to the lockdown.
Consequently, organisations require AI technologies which simplifies and removes the need for the human touch. However, in order for organisations to achieve their transformation strategy goals, the storage solution needs to deliver elastic performance and fault resolution capabilities.
Capacity on demand coupled with AI
In conjunction with the right AI technology, organisations should opt for a Capacity On Demand (COD) storage model where reserve capacity is implemented upfront. This provides the customer with the flexibility to rapidly assign additional storage required, in situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The added benefit is that customers only pay for what they use.
At the end of the day, remote support for an organisation’s IT storage infrastructure is all about self-tuning, self-healing and the ability to provide reserve capacity that can be deployed without human intervention.