Software-defined storage is one method of avoiding vendor lock-in, according to an IT chief from the charity sector.
The view emerged from a recent IT Leaders Forum from V3's sister site Computing on 'Architecting your organisation for the future'.
When asked for his main objectives when looking at storage solutions, Phil Durbin, Head of IT Systems at the Salvation Army cited reliability and availability.
"Top of my mind was reliability and availability, that's my number one objective," said Durbin.
However, Computing's latest research into storage trends finds Durbin to be in a minority here, with reliability and availability actually ranking as the lowest pain point amongst UK-based IT firms, perhaps because those issues are largely already solved.
According to the research, it was time required to take backups, followed by lack of insight into how data storage is being used which caused IT leaders the most pain.
Durbin also stated that security is a key consideration for the Salvation Army.
"Security at rest is also critical, also in transit, and after it's backed up. We will look at cloud backup, but where is it and is it secure and encrypted? Where is it once it has been backed up, that's very important with Brexit particularly."
He added that software-defined storage could help with some of his concerns, especially around easy of use, and vendor lock-in.
"We'd like one tool to manage all of our storage for ease of maintenance and ease and cost of adding to it, and we also don't want lock-in to any particular vendor. That's where software-defined storage will be critical to us in future."
Durbin explained that whilst software-defined storage is seen as the likely future for the Salvation Army's storage strategy, nothing is yet set in stone.
"We've set a general direction, knowing that we can adjust it. It's like sending a probe to Mars. You send the probe in the general direction of Mars, and then adjust its course as it gets close. So we can embrace new technology as it comes out in the future," said Durbin.
Also speaking on the panel was Nick Ioannou, Head of IT at architects Ratcliffe Groves Partnership. He agreed that long-term planning around storage is difficult.
"The technology is moving so fast, to plan five years ahead is insane. It's like saying I'm choosing a car for next 50 years. The amount you'd have to invest today compared to what you'll get for 10 per cent of that cost in five years is significant. Unless you can really show the benefit of that investment today, you wouldn't want to risk your job on it," said Ioannou.
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