Flash-Ready and Future-Proof: Why MSPs Need to Go All-Flash


    Sep 01, 2022

    Imagine if your IT storage is managed by a Managed Service Provider (MSP). However, it has poor scalability, low data security, weak business continuity, and, above all, high running costs. Would you continue to choose the storage service provided by the MSP?

    Of course not.

    But the reality is that these issues may not arise centrally. Instead they are scattered across products from multiple MSPs.

    MSPs provide for various groups, the majority of which are SMEs that have differing requirements on performance (IOPS), disk capacity, and system reliability, and are restricted by limited IT budgets. Explosive data growth and the corresponding increase in workloads has prioritized IT service performance, so that SMEs can easily support core production applications and purchase the services they require when needed. The price of solid-state drives (SSDs) has dropped considerably in recent years, and when combined outstanding performance, it is no wonder more and more MSPs are deploying their storage systems on all-flash models.

    According to the report of All-Flash Array Market – Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027), the global all-flash array market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 26.3% from 2021 to 2026. Put simply, all-flash arrays are imperative for enterprises of all sizes, a trend acknowledged by many MSPs.

    MSP core focus: All-flash strategy

    I recently talked with a Huawei storage expert who explained the five dimensions that determine the efficiency of MSP-provided storage services:

    • Performance
    • Availability
    • Data backup and disaster recovery
    • Management
    • TCO

    Here, I’d like to further share my thoughts. The first dimension is high performance, the most basic and core aspect of any system. In the digital era, the analytics and processing of mass data usually creates unprecedented pressure on the IT system. Improving system IOPS and throughput while reducing latency and improving the customer data experience is a top priority for MSPs. To help build faster data processing solutions, storage vendors have launched high-performance all-flash systems. Compared with traditional HDD solutions, the read and write speeds of the all-flash system are much faster.

    Huawei launched its flagship series OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage. Based on the SPC-1 model, a synthetic but sophisticated and fairly realistic performance measurement model for storage subsystems, Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage provides an industry-leading 21 million IOPS and a latency as low as 0.05 ms, half that of rival products, helping MSPs provide high-performance data storage services.

    The next point is high availability (HA), which refers to using reliability designs to minimize system downtime (the duration the system cannot provide normal services). Traditional storage architectures use active-passive architectures and local HA to eliminate single points of failure. Now, many top vendors use the active-active (A-A) model to meet the HA demands of core enterprise systems. However, some vendors need to purchase gateways to build the A-A architecture. By contrast, our OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage supports the integrated SAN and NAS A-A architecture that does not require additional gateways. We use two sets of all-flash arrays to form a cross-site cluster system. This generates much faster I/O response speeds and avoids forwarding by storage gateways, reducing I/O latency and minimizing faults.

    Third is data backup and recovery. Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 reported that ransomware attacks are the biggest concern for cyber leaders. Extortion attacks are becoming ubiquitous, and if experienced by an MSP, the damage to brand image means the loss of clients. Therefore, MSPs must consider how to prevent services from being interrupted and how to quickly restore data if, not when, a failure occurs.

    Read more: How You Can Safeguard Your Data Against Ransomware

    Another consideration is faults and disasters. Assume an MSP provides SAP services for enterprise clients. If the MSP’s live network has very low bandwidth for system recovery, the database cannot quickly restore the required external backup files from the backup system in the event of a failure. This will interrupt services on the primary storage, and in turn, cause huge economic losses and an unacceptable user experience. To meet such requirements as rapid backup and recovery, Huawei has launched the OceanProtect Backup Storage. Running on all-flash media, the solution optimizes all I/O paths, such as host data access, front-end network, CPU, and back-end network, greatly improving the recovery performance. In the event of production system failure or data loss, data can be recovered within seconds.

    For data management, we all want to manage our data and perform IT business operations on a single pane of glass. If the management of MSP’s IT services are too complex, additional costs will pile up for their clients. A more cost-effective and streamlined management solution is the Huawei all-flash management solution, which implements efficient global management across three layers: devices, data centers, and clouds. For example, we have the Data Management Engine (DME), a data center-level smart management tool that provides a unified management environment for operations covering automatic processing, service planning, deployment, resource provisioning, O&M, and internal self-tuning, greatly simplifying O&M. In addition, it can help MSPs plan data resources 90 days in advance, improve provisioning efficiency tenfold and resource utilization by 80%. Our solution enhances the competitiveness of MSPs’ business lines in terms of O&M and management efficiency.

    Finally, let’s talk TCO. In some ways, MSPs like any business, want to grow revenue and reduce costs. MSPs also need to consider the flexibility of their customer payment models. Regardless of whether it’s how to add a single disk or storage controllers to improve computing performance, enterprises want to purchase on demand and avoid overspending. The OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage and OceanProtect Backup Storage are top offerings that provide ultimate data reduction ratios.

    Using innovative technologies like inline deduplication and compression, feature-based compression, and byte-level compression, Huawei’s high-performance SSDs store more data volumes than HDDs with the equivalent capacity, whereas efficient and simplified O&M further slashes related costs. Lower OPEX equipment footprint, power consumption, and maintenance drives down overall TCO, making the offerings a must-have for any business.

    Into the all-flash future

    As enterprises are accelerating digital transformation, more MSPs are looking for future-oriented all-flash products and solutions to meet the diverse IT demands and workloads of their customers. Huawei Storage is on a mission to mine data value and explore new, better ways to store mass data. Its all-flash systems have been widely adopted by many MSPs thanks to the leading functions and features and unique technical advantages. Optimized performance, lower costs, and more competitive advantages are shared goals for MSPs, their customers, and Huawei. With a rich back catalogue of premium IT products and solutions, we are committed to building a modern IT landscape with all-flash-ready data infrastructure, and provide MSPs with business solutions they, and their customers, need. We are, as our topic it titled, flash-ready and future-proof.

    Read more about OceanProtect Backup Storage.

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


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