Centralized or Decentralized IT? Which is Better?

August 13, 2013 in Branch Office, Comparison, Multi-Site, Storage, SvSAN, Whitepaper

One of the most prevalent debates among enterprise IT professionals today is about whether a centralized or decentralized IT infrastructure delivers more value to an organization.  Organizations with multiple sites or extensive remote networks have particular difficulty in being decisive, as the wrong choice can have such profound effects on the resiliency, manageability and cost to their distributed business operations.

While there are pros and cons to each approach, there are three primary factors to consider when making your own decision about what method is best for your organization

1.     Manageability

IT infrastructures need to be efficient, responsive and flexible to deal with ever-changing business demands. Which approach is simpler to manage and will minimize the operations burden on existing IT staff and resources?

2.     Cost and Efficiency

What does the initial infrastructure hardware and software cost?  What are the measures to ensure desired levels of availability and performance?  Will various components be interoperable or lock an organization in with a certain vendor?  How efficiently does the infrastructure scale up to service business growth or additional needs?  Which approach minimizes these considerations and reduces operational expenditure on floor space, power and cooling?

3.     Time to Deploy

Which approach minimizes the amount of time it takes to deploy and maintain the solution(s) in the infrastructure?

Both approaches have pros and cons, is it possible to deploy an optimized, integrated infrastructure that maximizes the benefits of both at the same time?  If this were possible, what would the ideal storage solution look like?

StorMagic has published a new white paper with much more detail on centralized and decentralized IT environments.  It contains the latest data and best practices for how to answer all of these questions, and advises professionals about how best to deploy an IT infrastructure to maximize benefits and minimize costs for an entire organization.

How to Run a Lean Branch Office

July 25, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Webinar

With time and resources under ever-increasing organizational pressure, it’s never been more essential for IT professionals to run their environments as lean as possible. One way they can do this is to ensure that their infrastructures for branch offices and other remote sites are easy to manage, quick to deploy and as efficient with cost and internal resources as possible.

To learn more, we and our friends at Cisco invite you to attend an upcoming webinar:

Title:Learn How To Run Lean Branch Offices

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time: 11:00 a.m. Eastern (U.S.)


  • John Flood – Senior Product Manager, Cisco UCS E-Series  Servers
  • Mark Christie – Senior Systems Engineer, StorMagic
  • Steven Santini – Development Manager of Global Marketing, StorMagic

In this webinar, we will demonstrate a solution that can simplify branch office infrastructure with a converged networking, computing and virtualization-ready platform designed to host multiple infrastructure services and mission-critical business applications.  The solution has two main pieces: StorMagic’s virtual storage appliance solution, SvSAN, and Cisco’s UCS E-Series .  You will:

  • Learn how SvSAN is developed for multi-site environments;
  • Watch demonstrated scripted deployment and how it enables hands off deployment of sites;
  • Understand how Cisco’s E-Series UCS simplifies the branch office; and
  • Target VSA cost effectiveness for implementation and management of shared storage.

Distributed IT, Centralized / De-Centralized? – Get the best of both

June 11, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, SvSAN

As highlighted in the recent report from the INI Group, Analysis of IT at the Retail Store, it is clear that enterprise IT are primarily taking 1 of 2 paths in the development of their distributed IT infrastructure.

To provide improved management of their distributed infrastructure, many organizations are centralizing their data and applications at the datacenter and/or public cloud. Although this is very cost effective and provides central IT with more control, it leaves the business vulnerable to extended downtime across the board. If a site loses connection to the datacenter and/or cloud it will have no/limited access to applications required to do business. Even worse, if the datacenter/cloud goes down, your entire network goes down with it.

There are also many looking at decentralization to give distributed sites more independence from central IT by hosting business critical data and applications on-site. Although this method ensures uptime, it is very costly to implement, support and maintain as typically traditional physical storage solutions, such as Storage Area Networks (SANs), are utilized at each location.

StorMagic’s SvSAN provides the best of both worlds by enabling organizations to achieve affordable high availability at their distributed sites while maintaining management from central IT. See how a large big box retailer did just that and saved over $10m on hardware cost alone across their 2200 sites.

Webinar – Analysis of IT at the Retail Store

May 28, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Webinar

In this webinar, Tony Asaro, CEO and Founder of the INI Group, discusses the key findings of their recently published report, Analysis of IT at the Retail Store.

For this report, the INI Group conducted in-depth interviews with retailers to uncover the challenges, requirements, and strategies facing retail industry IT professionals and executives, including:

  • The importance of uptime;
  • The need for simple solutions to deploy and manage;
  • The complexity of centralized management;
  • The concern for IT cost across stores;
  • And more.

Access the Retail Report

As a thank you for registering, we are pleased to share the INI Group Report, Analysis of IT at the Retail Store which will be discussed in this webinar.

The Retail Store Infrastructure: Less is More

April 29, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Storage, SvSAN

The mindset towards onsite IT has changed drastically. Over the years there has been a gradual move away from the traditional hefty store IT infrastructure with more investment into implementing streamlined environments which are de-centralized in application control but centralized in management.

For retail IT, ensuring uptime of critical applications across their stores is their number 1 priority as application downtime directly impacts the bottom line. But unfortunately very often more time is spent putting out metaphorical fires than fireproofing.

This is why enterprise IT are turning to Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA) as an alternative to or to replace their remote site Storage Area Networks. SAN solutions provide the shared storage required to ensure availability of data and applications but can create more fires than they prevent, because:

  • You virtualized your store environments for simplicity and improved management. SAN solutions re-complicate these environments and require specialist storage expertise to manage.
  • SAN solutions are a high CAPEX & OPEX investment which over time requires additional upgrades and eventual retirement.
  • Although a SAN solution is implemented to provide availability of data/applications, it is a single point of failure in the environment. 2 SAN solutions would be required to remedy this and could almost double your CAPEX.

In a recent Retail Technology Study, RIS news detail how retailers are evolving to keep up with the winds of change. As part of the study, RIS explains that as the retail technology stack evolves, so does the architecture approach to software.

StorMagic’s VSA solution, SvSAN, achieves affordable application uptime, shared storage, high availability and reliability while eliminating the need for physical storage networks at your retail stores.

StorMagic’s SvSAN is ideal for remote sites because of the following:

-          Simple to use and manage.

-          Significantly reduced capital costs

-          Automated, fast and easy deployment over dozens, hundreds and thousands of remote sites

-          vSphere integration providing single pane of glass management across all remote sites

-          Low ongoing operational costs

-          Small footprint

-          Hardware independence

-          Excellent application performance

-          True 2 server High Availability (HA) without local quorum server requirement


Retail Customer Brief

Fresh oil for the StorMagic machine

April 3, 2013 in Multi-Site, News, Storage, SvSAN

Recently StorMagic appointed Sonny Bennett to direct product management at a critical point in the company’s rapid growth. Sonny bring over 14 year of experience as a storage architects and takes a senior role in defining product requirements for enterprise organizations with multiple distributed sites.

“It is critical that our products address the specific challenges of branch-office environments, including availability, performance, serviceability and centralized management,” explains Hans O’Sullivan, CEO of StorMagic.

StorMagic is experiencing continued success because of a significant demand for enterprise-class virtual storage for virtual server environments. In recent news, a big-box retailer saved over $10m on hardware alone by implementing StorMagic’s SvSAN across their 2200+ stores instead of other competitive virtual storage appliance (VSA) solutions.

Enable Retail Distributed Store Uptime with Virtualization and Virtual Storage Appliances

March 20, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Storage, SvSAN, Whitepaper

Virtualization  helps drive down the cost of IT by consolidating servers, reducing maintenance costs and lowering management overhead. Just as importantly, advanced features make it possible to achieve high availability for critical store applications. With high availability, applications that support revenue generation and applications that support efficiency, cost containment and risk management are always available. It’s no surprise, then that InformationWeek.com, using data from a recent IDC study, highlighted virtualization as the top priority for CIO’s.

Employees, partners, and customers may access an organization’s applications from virtually anywhere: from the office, from home, or on the road. And they expect the applications to be available, regardless of where the applications run, whether from a centralized corporate data center, from a cloud service, from a remote site or from some combination of the three.

CIO’s and IT administrators responsible for retail IT operations face unique challenges at the store level that have, until recently been barriers to delivering high availability. These barriers are:

  • High hardware and software acquisition costs
  • High maintenance costs
  • The lack of onsite skilled IT staff

Shared storage is a key enabling technology for high availability and an absolute requirement for advanced availability features. Shared storage has also however, been a prime contributor to high acquisition costs, high maintenance costs, and the need for onsite, highly-skilled IT staff.

Download this informative whitepaper to learn how virtual storage appliances are enabling retail organizations to deliver uptime in their distributed store environments.

Download the Whitepaper

Enable Store Availability So You Can Focus on Your Infrastructure Development

March 7, 2013 in Multi-Site, Retail, SvSAN

StorMagic understands the challenges of running business-critical applications at remote sites, especially for large regional or national retail organizations with many locations and no IT resources at the store level.

So how do you achieve affordable application uptime, shared storage, high availability and reliability while eliminating the need for physical storage networks at your retail stores? For infrastructure management teams, implementing network storage in-store ensures availability of business applications, but the expense is too high.

StorMagic’s SvSAN is ideal for remote sites because of the following:

  • Simple to use and manage.
  • Significantly reduced capital costs
  • Automated, fast and easy deployment over dozens, hundreds and thousands of remote sites
  • vSphere integration providing single pane of glass management across all remote sites
  • Low ongoing operational costs
  • Small footprint
  • Hardware independence
  • Excellent application performance
  • True 2 server High Availability (HA) without local quorum server requirement

Read how a big box retailer with over 2200 locations is deploying SvSAN to dozens of sites weekly with an estimated $10m in cost savings. Learn More

Virtual Storage Appliance For Distributed Sites

February 11, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Storage, SvSAN

Author: Colm Keegan, Lead Analyst at Storage Switzerland LLC.

Shared storage, whether it be networked attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN), has become an essential component of any IT environment – large or small. While the cost of shared storage technology has dropped significantly over the last 10 years the costs of physical storage solutions are still prohibitive in achieving remote site redundancy. In addition to high Capex and Opex costs, the complexity of implementing and managing physical storage solutions can be daunting for even the most seasoned IT professionals.

In most instances the storage capacity available internal to the physical hosts will suffice for supporting on-site applications. The challenge for organizations managing multiple remote sites is that physical storage solutions require high capital investment for acquisition, deployment, management and maintenance. These physical solutions re-introduce complexity into virtualized environments and are a single point that introduces higher risk of extended downtime.


VTUG Winter Warmer 2013 – Attendee Interviews

February 7, 2013 in Events, Multi-Site, News, Storage, SvSAN

In January the StorMagic team spent their day at the VTUG Winter Warmer at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough exhibiting the virtual storage appliance (VSA) SvSAN and holding sessions on how SvSAN is eliminating the need for network storage to achieve remote site redundancy.

While there we had to take the opportunity to interview the attendees on how their remote sites are setup and what the impact is on the business when those systems go down.

And here it is.

Learn more about how SvSAN is enabling affordable remote site redundancy while eliminating the need and single point of failure of physical storage solutions at StorMagic.com


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