AI and data storage

Issue 7 2021 IT infrastructure

In the field of enterprise IT, artificial intelligence (AI) is a buzzword that we’ve seen used time and again over the past few years, with the promise of making every part of a business better. What does this mean specifically for data storage?

This is the question posed in a recent Tintri blog, which clarifies that AI can be considered as any system that can sufficiently process data to augment, mimic or, in some cases, replace human cognitive functions.

As outlined by Tintri co-authors Erwin Daria, Ram Narayanan and Kurt Kuckei, AIs perform within a ‘feedback loop’ that can be categorised by the following key stages:

Data analysis: where data is fed into the AI.

Inference: where the AI infers a condition from that data.

Prescription/action: in most cases, the intent of the data analysis and inference is to prescribe an action.

“AI relies heavily on excellent storage systems,” says Michael Donaldson, Tintri product manager at Networks Unlimited Africa, “and at the same time, excellent storage systems rely heavily on AI.

“Tintri is a provider of intelligent infrastructure for virtualised and non-virtualised enterprise IT, which brings better insights into systems. Intelligent infrastructure means the automation of a greater part of the data and storage environments, which reduces the overheads on administrators and also provides better ways of keeping systems optimal and efficient.

“Tintri’s parent company, DataDirect Networks (DDN), is a leading storage provider for at-scale AI environments and has developed a deep understanding of data-intensive workloads and the demands they place on storage at any scale. Together, DDN and Tintri’s full-service portfolio enables the intertwined relationship operating between storage systems and AI.”

Powerful storage infrastructure

According to the blog: “For customers leveraging AI as a technology to drive new revenue opportunities, DDN delivers powerful storage infrastructure in the industry for critical at-scale production workloads. The DDN infrastructure is designed for AI applications that help organisations extract and enhance the value of their data. Here’s where AI success is dependent on the capabilities of the underlying storage and where DDN delivers simplicity, flexibility and efficiency with turnkey solutions.

“…Tintri has focused on implementing AI as a set of integrated capabilities within its enterprise storage systems that can simplify and, in many cases, eliminate administrative tasks. This reduces management complexity and frees IT admins to do more valuable work. Here’s where storage management and optimisation can be greatly enhanced by AI and where Tintri technologies add incomparable value.”

“Tintri’s intelligent infrastructure is able to acquire knowledge and then apply that awareness to optimise its own performance, settings or configurations,” notes Donaldson.

“With the IT skills gap increasing, intelligent infrastructure offers a solution to bridge the gap and allow autonomous operations to handle many of the daily operations needed to keep IT infrastructure and associated applications running smoothly. This in turn will enable cost-savings, while also freeing up employees to concentrate on other areas of the business,” he concludes.

Tintri is distributed in South Africa by Networks Unlimited.

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