Digitalisation is driving a continued data explosion as organisations generate, store, and access more data than ever before.
This, in turn, is leading to new challenges as they grapple with how to store that data, keep it safe, and ensure it is available when required.
Ricky Pereira, Dell Enterprise Senior Pre-Sales Engineer at Pinnacle, explains that organisations need to understand what they want to do with particular data in order to make informed decisions on their storage options.
The first decision to be taken would typically be around whether to adopt cloud or on-premise storage and backup – but there are pros and cons to both options, he says.
And, in the South African context, power issues and load shedding add a further dimension to the challenge.
“Load shedding also affects where organisations host their storage,” Pereira says. “If it’s on-premise you need to have alternative power supplies in place; whereas if you are in the cloud the cloud provider has to worry about that. If you opt for the cloud, you need to factor in the fact that connectivity might not be available.
“All of these considerations could add cost, so it’s always going to be a juggling act. There are many other pros and cons to consider”, he adds.
“If you put your data in the cloud you can be assured that it is available and scalable – and the IT team doesn’t have to worry about running the infrastructure and keeping the lights on. Your data is usually accessible and the solution is pretty cost-effective.
“On the other hand, IT teams are not necessarily able to control or secure their data, and that is a big concern.”
He points to the example of the cloud-based email service in Office 365. “There are guarantees on service uptime, but you have to protect your data yourself. And, if you are looking at core systems like financials or ERP, you need to think carefully about whether you want to risk that data in the cloud. Bear in mind that the cloud provider can’t guarantee the security or backup of your data unless you add those services – and this incurs more costs, which can quickly add up.”
As a result, after the initial rush to keep all data in the cloud, we have seen a move back to on-premise solutions, Pereira says.
“Data sovereignty, latency and performance are all issues that are gaining traction. There was a big move by customers to throw all their chips at the public cloud, but some fingers got burnt and now there is a considered move to bring some services back on-premise.
“The trick is to find the balance and decide which services do better on-premise and which can stay in the cloud. As a result, the multi-cloud/hybrid-cloud model is rapidly gaining traction in the South African market.”
Retaining storage and backup on-premise means organisations can take advantage of the data protection, control, and access abilities they already have in place.
The Dell Technologies multi-cloud storage and backup solutions take a lot of the guesswork out of this equation because they work in both on-premise private cloud and public cloud environments. This solution is designed to help customers achieve the right balance. You don’t have to opt for one solution or the other, but can have the pros of both without the cons of either.
Yvonne Maluleka, Dell Enterprise Business Unit Manager at Pinnacle, points out that the multi-cloud/hybrid-cloud solutions from Dell Technologies address security and data autonomy challenges that go with cloud storage. “These are big concerns for most organisations, along with performance that could be impacted by poor connectivity. At the same time, on-premise solutions might not offer the degree of scalability that customers often need.”
But the wide range of Dell offerings means Pinnacle and its partners can customise a solution to exactly what the customer requires. “There is no one-size-fits-all. Customers need more flexibility and they need solutions that can scale so there’s no need to rip and replace down the line.”
Maluleka adds that there is a global IT skills shortage which is hitting South African organisations particularly hard. “This makes it extremely challenging for organisations to manage their storage and backup, especially if they have it in a variety of different environments. And this results in inevitable delays and cost increases.”
The solution, she adds, is to invest in a robust storage and backup solution that is secure and scalable – and to ensure there are sufficient IT skills to manage the data.
The Dell Technologies storage and backup solutions make this possible by offering an operating model that is the same regardless of whether the data is on-premise or in the public cloud.
“So you can upskill your team to utilise this set of operating models confident that they will be able to manage the full environment.”
Dell Technologies solutions right from Pinnacle
Dell Technologies’ storage portfolio includes PowerMax, PowerStore, Unity XT, and PowerVault. They are all designed to deliver high-performance, scalability, and availability, ensuring that organisations can access and manage their data seamlessly across public, private, and edge cloud environments.
By providing seamless integration between public, private, and edge clouds, and employing a range of security and availability measures, Dell is helping organisations to manage and protect their data in the face of ever-increasing challenges.
PowerMax is a high-end storage solution that is designed to provide high performance and reliability to the organisations most mission-critical applications. It offers a range of advanced features such as automated tiering, data reduction, and encryption to ensure data is always available and secure. It also integrates with multiple cloud platforms, making it an ideal solution for businesses that operate in a multi-cloud environment.
PowerStore is an all-flash storage solution that leverages container technology to deliver an unparalleled level of flexibility and scalability. It is designed to work seamlessly with multiple cloud platforms including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware Cloud. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses looking to move their data and workloads to the cloud while maintaining control and management over their storage infrastructure.
The Dell EMC Unity XT storage array is designed to deliver unified storage and management capabilities for both traditional and modern workloads. It provides organisations with the flexibility to deploy storage as a standalone solution or as part of a hyper-converged infrastructure.
PowerVault is an entry-level storage solution that is designed to provide small businesses with affordable storage options. It is a great choice for businesses that want to take advantage of cloud storage while maintaining control over their data.
Dell’s primary hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution, Dell EMC VxRail, is a fully integrated, pre-configured, and optimised solution that combines compute, storage, and networking in a single appliance. The solution is based on VMware vSAN and VMware Cloud Foundation, offering organisations a seamless path to the hybrid cloud.
The integration of Dell’s storage and HCI solutions into a multi-cloud environment is essential for organisations looking to leverage the benefits of cloud computing. Multi-cloud environments typically consist of a mix of public, private, and edge clouds, and the ability to move data seamlessly between these environments is critical for maintaining business agility and continuity.
Another important tool in Dell’s storage portfolio is the Dell EMC Isilon, providing scale-out storage for unstructured data, making it an ideal solution for big data analytics, media and entertainment, and other data-intensive workloads.
Dell also offers a range of backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure the security and availability of data. One such solution is the Dell EMC Cyber Recovery Vault, which provides an isolated, secure environment for critical data, enabling organisations to recover quickly in the event of a cyberattack.
Data security and data availability are critical components of any storage and HCI solution, and Dell employs a range of security measures including encryption, secure boot, and secure firmware updates to ensure that data is protected at all times.
The company also places a strong emphasis on data availability with storage and HCI solutions designed to deliver high availability, ensuring that data is always accessible, even in the event of hardware failures or other issues.
Dell’s storage and HCI solutions are fully integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation, a comprehensive hybrid cloud infrastructure platform. VMware Cloud Foundation provides organisations with a consistent, secure, and efficient infrastructure for running both traditional and modern applications.
The Pinnacle value-add
As a leading South African ICT distributor, Pinnacle makes a range or professional services and value-adds in terms of expertise available to its customers, along with the full Dell Technologies offering to it’s resellers.
“We offer consulting and technical support services to help our customers (reseller partners) assist their customers (end user companies) to put in the right solutions,” Pereira says. Adding that implementation & installation services are in the works, to offer a full turnkey package.
Maluleka stresses that, as a distributor, Pinnacle are channel centric, and the relationship is always with the reseller first.
“We drive the Dell Technologies partner programme with our resellers to help enable growth and maximum benefit of such initiatives. The partnership also provides resellers with the tools and services they need to be successful,” she explains. “We also offer a financing option to help customers acquire Dell solutions.”
With a footprint throughout Africa and into the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, Pinnacle has a sizeable Dell Enterprise team that is able to assist with a variety of service and support functions.
“Our team boasts Dell Technologies certifications and skillsets to help with solutions architecture in the Midrand head office and also across our branches,” Pereira says. “Over and above that, we have business development managers who focus on the broader enterprise product sets at all the branch offices and in Namibia to ensure maximum feet on the ground to service our reseller base.
Maluleka concludes: “With the Pinnacle resources, and the ‘backup’ we get from Dell, we can help our partners build the right solutions for their customers.”