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January 2018, Vol. 16, No. 11

What's behind the rise of the software-defined storage market

Let's pretend we have a time machine and can go back to 1995 to pluck a couple of data center engineers from their natural habitat and bring them forward to 2018. At first, they'll probably feel comfortable seeing the blinking lights, the obvious disks, the networking cables, the servers and the racks that hold it all together. However, once they start peeling back the layers, it'll quickly become clear that what they are seeing today is magic compared to what was available more than 20 years ago. Although innovation has swept all parts of IT, storage will be the most foreign to our time-traveling engineers. Servers look and act the same, even if they're virtualized, and networks still operate in a similar fashion. But storage has been fundamentally transformed. In many data centers, the disks that our "chroniton" particle-infused engineers are used to are gone. Their replacement devices work more like RAM than storage -- even if the outside shell appears like it did way back when. Moreover, beyond the devices themselves, the ...

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