Without the resources of larger enterprises, what storage investment options do midsized and smaller organizations have in the hybrid multi-cloud transformation journey?

The current economic reality is driving Asia Pacific organizations to optimize operational efficiencies while minimizing costs.

Larger organizations are seeking simplified high-capacity, lower cost on-premise storage to modernize their data centers, to futureproof their investments while concurrently addressing economic headwinds and sustainability goals.

Where does that leave midsized and smaller enterprises in the region? DigiconAsia gets some answers from Fredy Cheung, Area Vice President, Greater China, ASEAN, South Korea, NetApp.

As hybrid and multi-cloud strategies take off even among midsized and smaller enterprises in Asia Pacific, what are the challenges and opportunities such organizations tend to face today?

Cheung: Companies are increasingly embracing hybrid multi-cloud environments to blend the reliability and manageability of the data center with the scale and flexibility of the cloud. But along the way, many have encountered complexities and cost challenges that come with the disparate management frameworks and technologies across their diverse on-prem and cloud environments.

Resource management, security, data protection, and optimization add even more complexity and cost at both the OPEX and personnel levels.

Midsized and smaller organizations, lacking bargaining powers, resources and with smaller IT arms, are especially impacted by the unpredictability of public cloud costs. More than large enterprises, they need a mechanism that provides real time visibility and “easy buttons” for managing service availability and cost across multi-cloud.

Smaller organizations typically have on-premises storage equipment that would be costly to eliminate immediately. The best strategy for them would be in their next technology refresh cycle, to acquire on-premises storage devices that has built-in capability to burst and scale workloads to the cloud in a seamless way when they are ready to make the leap.

These organizations should also find a way to manage their hybrid multi-cloud environments in a simple, streamlined manner through a unified approach – for instance, deploying a single-pane-of-glass that provides visibility, manageability and a consistent experience.

With the cost and manageability of the new cloud-integrated IT infrastructure under control, organizations can now focus on competing in their core business with newly enabled capabilities by the cloud.

Fredy Cheung, Area Vice President, Greater China, ASEAN, South Korea, NetApp

Are you seeing an increase in storage investments among midsized organizations resulting from hybrid cloud adoption? What other factors are impacting storage investments in the region?

Cheung: NetApp is seeing a steadily growing interest for data management solutions from mid-market organizations in APAC. Businesses today well understand the power of data in their day-to-day operations, and are inclined to invest in technologies that help them harness that data and stay competitive in the digital economy. According to IDC, by 2027, Asia-based SMBs’ total budgets dedicated to IT investments and connectivity services will increase by 40% as the firms turn to technology to compete with larger businesses.

Besides strengthening data management capabilities to facilitate hybrid cloud adoption, there are several other factors impacting storage investments in the region, including:

    • Data growth: With the proliferation of data in the region, organizations are experiencing exponential data growth that requires them to invest in more storage to keep up.
    • AI and machine learning: IDC forecasts that by 2026, 75% of large APAC enterprises will rely on AI-infused processes to enhance asset efficiency, streamline supply chains, and improve product quality. This growing use of AI and machine learning will in turn require more storage capacity to store and process the vast amounts of data needed for these applications.
    • Edge computing: The growth of edge computing in the region will reach US$5.8 billion by 2024, representing a CAGR of 21%, according to GlobalData, and this is also driving the need for more storage at the edge to support these distributed environments.
    • Regulatory compliance: Data privacy and security regulations in the region are becoming more stringent – for instance, Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and the Privacy Act in Australia. This has also called for an urgent and increasing need for secure, reliable storage solutions that can ensure compliance.
    • Digital transformation: With the internet economy poised to reach US$1 trillion by 2030, organizations in the region are also ramping up on storage investments, according to a report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co. By modernizing their IT infrastructure and adopting new technologies, organizations will be better positioned to scale and improve operations so as to better serve their customers whenever and wherever they are.

What would be some key tips and best practices you can share with midsized organizations concerning the need to futureproof their hybrid cloud infrastructure investments?

Cheung: Businesses today are dealing with tightening IT budgets and pressure for ROI amid an inflationary economy. Furthermore, they are facing growing sustainability demands. There is also uncertainty about what their IT infrastructure may look like in the next few years due to evolving hybrid multi-cloud strategies.

As such, futureproofing hybrid cloud infrastructure investments will be the key to ensure that midsized organizations are prepared for the ever-changing technological and business landscapes.

Some key tips and best practices to consider include:

    • Plan for investment protection: Organizations need to plan for both short-term and long-term scalability needs to accommodate their changing business needs. To ensure organizations’ current storage investment are protected even as they grow, we have recently introduced NetApp Advance program to help enterprises eliminate complex, time-consuming and costly hardware upgrade cycles.
    • Leverage automation: Automation can help simplify the management and deployment of your hybrid cloud infrastructure. Look for tools and platforms that can automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of your IT resources, on-prem or in the cloud.
    • Embrace a multi-cloud approach: Rather than relying on a single cloud provider, consider leveraging multiple cloud providers to create a more resilient and flexible infrastructure. Adopting a unified control plane such as NetApp BlueXP will help organizations easily and consistently manage the different on-prem and cloud environments and providers, securely and cost effectively.
    • Ensure data security: Cyber resilience is a top concern for any organization, and the hybrid cloud infrastructure, with a larger attack surface, requires even more attention. Make sure to implement robust security measures such as zero-trust architecture, encryption, access controls, ransomware protection and monitoring to protect your data and applications.
    • Work with experienced partners: Building and managing a hybrid cloud infrastructure can be complex, and it’s essential to work with experienced partners who can help you navigate the process. Look for partners who have deep expertise in cloud technologies and strong partnerships with the global hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.