In the digital economy, data storage considerations are key to a modern digital infrastructure in the hybrid cloud.

Organizations want to embrace the benefits of cloud and cloud-like operations in their digital infrastructure, without having to compromise on performance, availability, and reliability.

A recent survey by EY found that while 81% of businesses agree that data should be at the heart of all decision making, only 31% of companies have significantly restructured their operations to do so.

Apparently, more needs to be done to encourage businesses to be data-driven and to leverage data for insights for business operations.

At an event in October 2021, The Road Ahead: Digital Infrastructure For the Data-Driven, Hitachi Vantara outlined its vision to deliver digital infrastructure designed for the hybrid cloud, which enables organizations to seamlessly back up their data to the cloud, and effortlessly migrate data and applications between on-premises or cloud infrastructure. 

DigiconAsia finds out more in an interview with K C Phua, Technical Director, Data Management & Protection Solutions, Asia Pacific, Hitachi Vantara:

K C Phua, Technical Director, Data Management & Protection Solutions, APAC, Hitachi Vantara

In your opinion, what are some key trends in data storage in APAC?

Phua: In light of the rise in digital transformation, we are seeing many companies modernizing their data infrastructures to meet new set of challenges.

First, we are seeing companies optimizing their data storage infrastructures and placing their data both in the cloud and on-prem. Demand for these flexible hybrid infrastructures is on the rise.

Software-defined capabilities further adds to the flexibility because you can make the infrastructure more programmable, and you can automate more. 

We are also seeing huge demand from applications that require greater speed.  And this is leading to improvements in data storage media. In the coming years, we will be witnessing advancements in underlying technologies such as Flash and NVMe.  We will see a step-up in the processing horsepower of these new data storages.

Data is getting more critical.  A data loss event can have financial and reputational impacts.  The data infrastructure will need to be resilient against calamities, cyberattacks, and the unforeseen.  The data will need to be protected and safeguarded.   AI capabilities become important to deal with such disruptions to the infrastructure.   The ability to monitor the entire telemetry of the systems, anticipate disruptions, and to be able to remediate “almost immediately” is pushing companies to embrace AI.

Digital transformation continues to be a top priority for organizations across the region. What are the prerequisites for digital infrastructure to serve as an effective backbone for digital transformation?

Phua: There are many essential key pillars to digital transformation.  One of them is modernizing the digital infrastructure.  Modernizing will involve improving the performance and speed of the systems to support more, and faster transactions.  It will have to support the growth of the organizational data.  Today we are already seeing organizational data sizes in the range of petabytes from terabytes seen a decade ago.  And finally, the digital infrastructures will have to be highly available, and resilient.

In the hybrid and multi-cloud era we’re in today, data protection is a key but complex consideration. How should organizations approach data protection in their cloud transformation strategy?

Phua: The key to data protection, whether it is on the cloud, or on-prem or a hybrid of both is around availability, recoverability, and resiliency of the data.

Some of the key considerations most companies based their data protection strategy on are –

Can you afford the application to go down and for how long?

What is the impact of any down time?

How much would it cost you when your application is down?

How long can we “tolerate” the failover or the time needed to recover the system/data?

With rising concerns around cybersecurity and data privacy, how does automation help in running a unified business across a hybrid environment?

Phua: Cyber-threats and attacks come in many forms and can disrupt any part of the data infrastructure.  It can lead to data privacy exposures. It is no longer reasonable nor possible to track these cyber-activities manually.

Companies got to move faster, to get ahead of these attacks.  Automation is key because through automation, surveillance can be faster, and automated intervention can stop attacks early.