Enterprise Storage Trends and Futuristic View

By Jai Daga, Head of Information Technology, viacom18.com

SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) is no more thought of as a big shift of technology and confined to a few sectors but every organization irrespective of area or domain, is operating in ordered to have presence in above areas of technology. All this leads to a huge data storage and information exchange. In addition to this Big Data, Machine Learning, IOT and AI add to ocean of data in both structured and unstructured format.

Enterprise storage plays a critical role and CXO leadership expects it to provide huge amounts of storage, high availability of data and the system's overall reliability. Enterprise storage is used for critical systems and data that would result in a business halt if it were inaccessible or destroyed.

Thereby, today’s IT infrastructure is defined by enterprise storage which is most efficient, higher capacity with minimal rack space, scalable and more of software driven than just hardware component.

Industry Trend

Traditionally, major in-house infrastructure trend among enterprises has been siloed NAS and SAN solutions usually from 'legacy' providers with proprietary hardware and high commercial impact.

The enterprise storage industry has seen a decline in revenue for last few years and it has been evolving in recent years especially from 2010-2011 onwards.

Key reason being, it saw biggest inflow of SaaS based applications and infrastructure offering by giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook which defined evolution towards the kind of software-defined scale-out storage -- using commodity rather than proprietary hardware.

Key shift from 2010 to 2014

Between 2010 to 2014, the investment in enterprise storage market by vendors and OEM’s saw a huge leap. This also led to almost 3-fold investment in various startups functioning in the same area.

Around the turn of each year, numerous forward-looking innovations for different technology sectors were introduced with emphasis on enterprise storages. Trends being hybrid arrays, virtualization, public cloud, hybrid cloud, Big Data and hyper scale storage and later Software defined Storage, Hyper converged infrastructure and Flash arrays/SSD.

Industry is also embarking on technology which can disrupt some of above trends like containers for virtualization and open stack servers. Hyper convergence leading to complete convergence and flash arrays disrupting SSD.

Top four things I believe will have a major influence on the enterprise storage market in 2017:

1. Saas Based Offerings and Public Cloud Storage will Grow Exponentially– Though organizations are more open to this Opex model with no more procurement of hardware, services, and managing it, however the data confidentiality, high transactions, security concerns and bandwidth costs means on premise data center with enterprise storage is here to stay. Many organizations will go for hybrid cloud Pay-As-You-Go consumption model.

2. Penetration of Software Defined Storage- I expect to see software-defined storage becoming an integral part of data center, big data initiatives, workloads that require object-based storage and other data-intensive mission critical projects.

3. Digital Transformation Leading to Changes in Data Structure, Models and Responses– With every organization, consumers and geography going for digital transformation with adaptation of mobile applications, cloud computing, machine learning and IOT, it is causing massive increase in the volume of data that needs to be moved, processed and stored by IT. Not only is the volume of data exploding, but the data itself, sources for data and usage models are undergoing significant transformation.These new workloads are driving the need for new technologies, products and business models.

4. Flash Drives/Arrays to be Next Big Bet– Tech industry will see the same trend as it was for traditional storage, SATA disks to SSD wherein through initial years the cost was high and integration of SSD was minimal. Later, it was reversed wherein cost went down, integration and adaptation rose across all technology. Similarly as cost of flash media goes south, with increase in capacity more advanced data compression technologies will become available, hybrid and all-flash arrays will begin to take hold beyond high-performance computing and big data analytics workloads.

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