For companies that increasingly view storage as a vital utility, rather than as a capability that they want to cultivate and staff, Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) is becoming an increasingly attractive option. With the advent of cloud computing, IT departments started getting comfortable with software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, and platform-as-a-service. With Amazon S3, storage-as-a-service entered the mainstream. STaaS is essentially a cloud-like storage resource, implemented as an on-premises service providing immediacy, scalability, and pay-per-use flexibility, minus the security and performance variability issues that keep enterprise users up at night.
STaaS offers some compelling benefits. End users turning to STaaS are drawn by the ability to reduce operational and administrative costs, eliminate unplanned capital expenditures and major upgrades, improve control and security with on-prem infrastructure, and achieve greater performance with less downtime.
IT departments making their first steps into the realm of StaaS often begin with a daunting list of questions to address as they begin to sort through basic questions of what kind of storage they require. How much do they value security, service, and support? How do they manage and control their environments? What is the true value of an SLA?
Surveying the Enterprise IT Community about STaaS
John Webster, senior analyst with Evaluator Group, decided it was time to take the temperature of the end-user community considering STaaS. Webster surveyed 249 enterprise IT end users and conducted extensive interviews to understand the evolving attitudes toward STaaS.
The results are revealing. Some of the interviewees spoke glowingly of the benefits they have seen. One noted, “Switching over to STaaS has allowed us to lifecycle our aging storage fleet without the large CAPEX layout that would be required if we were to purchase the storage infrastructure. We will also be getting a significant performance uplift from the new storage hardware.”
Not surprisingly, compatibility, security, and support are all top concerns for end users as follows:
- 73% of those surveyed required compatibility with their existing IT environment. Customers want a STaaS vendor to be the single, consolidated source for support and maintenance.
- 65% of respondents indicated that they want the STaaS vender to be the single source of support and maintenance even if the infrastructure is sourced from different suppliers.
In the area of management and control of a STaaS environment, just 22% of survey respondents want the vendor to manage every aspect of their STaaS environment. 11% prefer to do it all themselves. Most want something in between.
“What I could allow the vendor to manage and control depends on what they own. There are a lot of moving pieces in an IT environment,” the CIO of a manufacturing firm noted. “The storage vendor could tweak something, which causes problems upstream and we’re left trying to figure out what changed. One of the things I hate is when vendors say it’s not their problem or they didn’t do that. They would have to be accountable and we would have to know what they are doing.”
Download STaas eBook
Webster’s eBook, “Storage-as-a-Service Comes of Age – A Study of Enterprise User Perceptions and Requirements,” is now available to download for anyone eager to learn more.