Recently, a company in the United States commissioned to track convicted criminals on parole had to shut down as it had unexpectedly reached its data storage limits, leaving federal authorities in the dark on the movements of the offenders for over 48 hours. Not the best result for a company whose business is based on the availability and reliability of its data storage infrastructure.This is just one of the hundreds of examples that demonstrate how organisations today continue to face unprecedented levels of growth in data storage requirements, and how many don’t know how to deal with this issue. Inadequate or out-of-date IT infrastructure and poor storage management can have a critical impact on business functionality and success. There are simple solutions to this problem, virtualisation being the big one and this is where the huge opportunity lies for resellers.The current data explosion coupled with an ever-changing technological and business environment means companies need to adapt quickly in order to remain competitive. The fall out of the global financial crisis is still being felt across many businesses in New Zealand and budgets continue to be tightened. The search for cost effectiveness and cost efficiencies remains a war-cry for the bean counters. Resellers who advise and guide customers through the process of creating a flexible, agile data storage solution, such as virtualisation, will be the ones to capitalise on the significant opportunity that awaits in this area.With IT departments being asked to deal with more data, less budget and fewer staff, storage is one of the key cost centres being reassessed in many cases, and customers are looking to virtualisation for the answer.Virtualising a data centre can result in lower costs, faster access to information, consolidation of resources and better levels of business continuity. Storage virtualisation provides the ability to represent data independently of where and how it is physically stored, thus enabling increased asset utilisation, faster application recovery and reduced space, power and cooling requirements. In simple terms, it enables more flexible and efficient IT and business and the reseller should be showing customers how they can extract maximum business benefit from such technologies.However, the extent to which this technology is able to deliver such benefits will depend on the completeness of the storage virtualisation solution and how well it’s integrated into the core data management architecture. This is where a reseller wanting to add true value can partner with the customer to develop a tailored solution designed to meet specific business needs.Whether your customers are looking for new ways to lower cost, improve scalability, or improve service level agreements, customers who have worked with value-added resellers to virtualise their storage environment have experienced accelerated time to market, increased productivity, and are meeting uptime requirements. It is important to note that the move to storage virtualisation is not a plug-and-play activity, but rather, a journey. Advising your customers on the right storage solution and strategy that will help guide them through this process is essential, as is an all-of-IT environment approach. The ROI and the outstanding customer experience that follow will provide your business with the evidence to work with further customers who need a solution to managing the data explosion.