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Real data storage partnerships – key to businesses surviving online trading spike during COVID-19 pandemic

By Hayden Sadler, Country Manager at Infinidat, South Africa

In order to meet the unprecedented spike in online demand for orders and deliveries during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a strong relationship with a data storage vendor has become crucial. This is due to the nationwide lockdown and restrictions resulting in many businesses having to reposition and offer their products and essential goods via online platforms, instead. For organisations to continue trading, however, they need to look towards modernised IT infrastructure as support.

Essential goods surge

According to payment platform PayFast, South African has seen a 226% year-on-year increase in new business account registrations in the food industry since the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. The company says that supermarkets and bakeries are among the retailers who have benefited the most during the first two weeks of lockdown, with a 357% increase in sales.

Enterprises, especially those that provide essential food items or healthcare products, are therefore relying on their online divisions to keep revenue streams flowing during this period. However, the online surge has seen many businesses struggle to meet parcel delivery time estimates.

Struggling to meet demands

Any modern virtualised IT infrastructure should be flexible enough to cater to a degree for spikes such as these, whether they are driven by Black Friday, or the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in reality, many online businesses are struggling to meet this demand, which not only impacts delivery timing, but also access and speed when it comes to data, while placing additional strain on IT infrastructures.

Not all aspects of your IT environment, comprising of compute, networking and storage elements, are as flexible as others, yet they need to be able to handle the spikes. As such, many organisations are currently, finding themselves in less than ideal positions.

For example, if a data storage vendor provides infrastructure that only caters for a certain amount of storage capacity, and is flexible enough to add more, the fact that this storage capacity must first be ordered, delivered and installed is not really going to be of much use in this situation, as deliveries and installations are almost impossible during the pandemic.

On the other hand, if businesses foresee the infrastructure challenge that might arise during unprecedented events, they should ideally have additional capacity built into their current infrastructure to cater for spikes like these. Yet, this is mostly not the case due to the high cost of having this additional capacity lying dormant.

To avoid this problem, many data storage vendors do offer models that allow for additional capacity to be added, without businesses having to deal with the hurdles of extra the costs or the hassle of delivery and installation of equipment.

Capacity-On-Demand

One such model is Capacity-On-Demand (COD), which means that the additional capacity is already ‘sitting on the floor’, but an organisation is only consuming a certain amount and only paying for that amount. However, when additional capacity is required to handle spikes, businesses can consume it immediately, without having to wait for purchase orders, deliveries and installation.

Therefore, data storage vendors need to form a real partnership with their customers, beyond just a trade relationship. A real partnership will see a storage provider invest in their customer to ensure that they have additional capacity on the floor, as and when required.

Aside from just ensuring that this capacity is immediately available to an organisation, a data storage vendor that invests in their customer will recognise that the trading spike is a temporary phenomenon, after which the customer will go back to their original capacity requirements.

An organisation without such a vendor relationship, will not only face a hefty bill for the additional extra capacity they needed, once the spike is over, they will also be stuck with equipment that they don’t need.

In order for online businesses to successfully position themselves and make provision for increased traffic the right data storage solution is imperative. This will enable the business to meet the needs of South African consumers during the lockdown and beyond.

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