Work-from-home model leads to mid-sized companies seeking better data solutions

Hitachi Vantara Sdn Bhd managing director, Moti Uttam

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To cope with the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO), many small-medium enterprises (SMEs) have turned towards digitisation to
remain relevant in this market environment.

However, cost remains an obstacle in their drive to digitise, according to Hitachi Vantara Sdn Bhd managing director, Moti Uttam.

“Data volumes are forecast to rise to 23%, but data storage budgets are only growing at about 10% on average. The cost of deploying high performing, low latency data storage and analysis
technology is high because it is built for larger enterprises,” says Uttam.

“Companies also hesitate as the volume of data from mid-sized companies may not match those of a larger enterprise. Hence the investment is not a priority.”

To address the spike in demand for data solutions, Uttam says that Hitachi Vantara has repurposed some of its existing enterprise-grade solutions to support mid-sized companies,
through the recent launch of the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) E990.

According to Uttam, the new VSP E990 features an all-NVMe architecture, which can reduce the data centre footprint by 75% and power consumption by 69% compared to the traditional
hybrid arrays, which will improve total cost of ownership for mid-sized businesses.

Uttam says data storage and infrastructure are now more critical than before as businesses are now embracing the work-from-home (WFH) model where data needs to be accessed remotely.

“Companies, including enterprises and service providers, are struggling to cope with the surge in the demand on their infrastructure to handle the WFH workforce. We have seen numerous news reports of large service providers facing outages as a result of this new WFH culture,” says Uttam.

“The sudden surge for WFH format requires employees to access data from anywhere and on any device, and this adds more risk to the companies’ most valuable asset — their data. Hence, security is also another concern.”

Uttam explains that he has seen interest in data solutions coming from all sectors, especially in the financial services and public sector which prioritise long-term data retention, security, governance and infrastructure reliability.

However, Uttam also points out that one-third of enterprises still suffer outages or significant performance degradation as a result of storage reliability issues.

He says that the explosive growth of new and unstructured data adds complexity to the existing infrastructure, and ensuring data reliability and long-term retention have become a big challenge.

“According to the industry analyst firm 451 Research, 43% of storage buyers feel unprepared to support increased future demands,” says Uttam.

“A mid-sized company may try to work with its existing human resource department and facilities in the IT department to manage data storage and even data analysis to a certain extent.

"As the company’s data grows, this function needs to be addressed more specifically in order for the data interpretation to be useful for business to grow.”

To help smaller companies get onboard, it has introduced a new financing programme — EverFlex — which allows users to acquire all Hitachi products, services and solutions on a single
platform.

In addition to that, Hitachi Vantara is offering free Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere trial licences to all of their customers, to assist in remote working during this pandemic period.

Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere is a system that delivers file-sync-and-share and data protection capabilities for collaboration, communication and data governance.

“We have helped a telco provider migrate from a legacy infrastructure platform to the newer VSP to cater to new business needs, and this is done seamlessly with no business impact at all. The business users were not even aware of the exercise,” says Uttam.

“Concurrently, we are also introducing them to new Ops Centre features that will help make their management, administration, and operation of the storage easier with automation through
artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Uttam recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a business opportunity for Hitachi Vantara due to the rise of the WFH model. However, he is also aware that companies are being
cautious about spending during these times.

“Most companies have realised that there is untapped value in their data, and a structure is required to store, organise and study this data. Thus, the potential increased demand for data
storage and infrastructure.”

Hitachi Vantara was formed in 2017 when Hitachi Ltd reorganised its data centre infrastructure, big data and Internet of Things capabilities into a new business.