final thought MIND THE GAP Paul Scarrott of Nimble Storage gives his thoughts on overcoming the App-data gap O rganisations large and small are modernising and transforming in order to expand their capabilities and lead digital projects. As a result, they are becoming increasingly reliant on hundreds or even thousands of Apps to power every conceivable business process – including sales, marketing, and product development. In turn, this has a fundamental impact on business outcomes, ranging from customer acquisition, to inventory management, pricing decisions and call centre efficiency. The success of these processes and outcomes depends on rapid, uninterrupted access to data. When something disrupts the delivery of data to applications it causes a gap which can negatively impact business outcomes and hamper organisational effectiveness. Overcoming that App-data gap has become critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Understanding the gap At Nimble Storage, we recently examined the root causes of application breakdowns across more than 7,500 companies. It turns out that just under half (46 per cent) of all App problems stem from issues directly related to the storage devices that feed those Apps, such as performance and capacity challenges, software issues and hardware failures. The majority of problems derive 48 from issues related to the rest of the infrastructure. These can relate to compatibility problems, network and application configuration, server issues, non-adherence to best practice, and host-side issues, among many others. The common denominator is that over half of application breakdowns stem from complex infrastructures, which create an App-data gap that disrupts data delivery, causing information to not be instantly available and processes to slow down. As today’s organisations become increasingly dependent on data to improve customer interaction, enhance product development and run the back office, having immediate access to it is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Therefore, businesses need to look for ways in which to close the App-data gap, and take down the barriers to data velocity. Achieving high app performance Optimising storage is one of the keys to achieving high application performance and availability. With a speed that is almost 100 times faster than traditional disk storage, many organisations are leveraging flash to achieve greater data velocity without the need for countless racks of equipment. As a result, businesses are using flash storage to effectively run a range of applications, including databases, servers, collaboration to server and desktop virtualisation Apps. However, while flash removes storage performance constraints, it does not resolve problems related to the rest of the infrastructure. It needs to be paired with cloud based predictive analytics solutions in order to predict and prevent issues across the entire application-to-storage stack. By monitoring the infrastructure on a real time basis, organisations can not only anticipate and quickly resolve complex issues, avert hot spots, and simplify planning. They can also make long term predictions as to when they will need to increase their storage space and performance, and plan ahead to do so seamlessly and non-disruptively. Closing the gap As storage management becomes more complex, enterprises are demanding more from their systems in terms of performance, availability, agility and ease of use. New technologies incorporate features such as flash optimised architectures and predictive analytics to address evolving concerns. By achieving intuitive and complete visibility of their storage and surrounding infrastructures, organisations can determine where barriers lie within the infrastructure. They can radically reduce the complexity of infrastructure operations – freeing up IT resources – improve performance and capacity, and ensure business continuity. In other words, they can close the App-data gap, ultimately improving business performance, and becoming more productive.