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Industry experts predict shift to multi-cloud storage in 2018

Hot trends in enterprise cloud storage in 2018 will include the use of multiple clouds, hybrid cloud storage and file-based cloud storage, according to industry experts.

Multi-cloud storage support will be a hot trend in 2018, along with cloud-based file storage and greater adoption of hybrid approaches, according to industry experts.

You can find a sampling of predictions on multi-cloud storage and other enterprise cloud storage trends below.

Shift to multi-cloud storage strategy

Milan Shetti, GM of storage and big data, Hewlett Packard Enterprise: I see a huge acceleration in customers adopting a multi-cloud storage strategy. The maturity of containers and adoption of DevOps will dictate to customers to invest in modern tools and technology.

Milan Shetti, GM, HPE storage and big dataMilan Shetti

Although there are various proven products to migrate applications -- largely virtual machines -- between on-premises [infrastructure] and the cloud, moving data is a whole different story. We will see strong innovation in storage products that enable customers to seamlessly move data between their data centers and the public cloud.

George Crump, founder and president, Storage Switzerland: Cloud adoption will really hit full stride. It'll become much easier for organizations to integrate the cloud into their existing data centers. And it will be easier for organizations to use multiple clouds: Google, Azure [and] Amazon, specifically.

We're starting to see the maturing of software, whether it's specific tools that migrate data to and from the cloud, and to multiple clouds or advanced file systems. That's a really big area that encompasses cloud storage natively as a part of the store.

Jeff Byrne, senior analyst and consultant, Taneja Group: Companies will increasingly deploy workloads in multiple clouds versus relying on a single cloud provider. Buyers are looking to multi-cloud approaches to avoid vendor lock-in, increase data portability and enhance availability and DR [disaster recovery] options. Firms are also increasingly motivated by the ability to choose the 'best-fit' cloud for each of their particular use cases.

Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of marketing and product management, Pure Storage: People will move from hybrid to multi-cloud strategies -- that is, the combination of public clouds and clouds you might run yourself -- and architect to avoid lock-in to a single cloud. You might run your own storage cloud, your own artificial intelligence cloud, your own analytics cloud, but also take advantage of multiple SaaS [software as a service] and IaaS [infrastructure as a service] providers.

Check out experts' 2018 predictions for flash and memory technologies and software-defined storage, as well as the storage market in general.

File storage becomes critical 

Peter Godman, co-founder and CTO, QumuloPeter Godman

Peter Godman, founder and CTO, Qumulo: All major cloud vendors will start to build or buy file storage, as they realize quality, scalable file storage is essential for capturing compute-intensive workloads. The cloud has always been about object and block, and that's it. But there's this whole world out there of folks doing creative workflows and innovation and discovery activities that have been using file for close to 50 years now and have absolutely zero intention of changing.

So, for clouds to actually win these kinds of workloads that are high-performance computing and discovery and research and AI and ML [machine learning], they're going to have to get greater file. And the cloud vendors are going to realize that they need something that works really, really well. So, they're all going to either try to buy a company, or they're going to build something.

Byrne, Taneja Group: With the emergence of cloud-resident file storage solutions, such as Amazon EFS and offerings from SoftNAS and Qumulo, companies are increasingly moving their existing file-driven workloads to the public cloud. Based on a survey of enterprise and midmarket organizations Taneja Group conducted in mid-2017, nearly one-half of users favor file as their primary method to access public cloud apps, with object and block a distant second and third.

Most of these users point to file as the best way to achieve cross-cloud portability. Practitioners plan to run both NFS and SMB [or] CIFS workloads in the cloud, so both those types of file services will be needed.

Hybrid cloud storage trends

Ritu Jyoti, research director, IDC: In 2018, spending on hybrid cloud services for data location optimization using machine learning algorithms will total more than $3 billion, growing from about $850 million in 2017. Based on certain conditions, the data will automatically be moved from one tier to the other tier. It will be moved from on premises to public cloud, so it can be archived. And it can be placed in the right location on one cloud versus another cloud.

Scott Sinclair, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group: We're going to continue to see more partnerships and alliances between on-premises and cloud providers. Over the past two or three years, on-premises vendors have been saying hybrid cloud, but still viewed public cloud vendors as competitors.

In 2018, they'll recognize that they can't maintain that strategy. Everyone is going to have an on- and off-prem strategy, and that off-prem strategy will involve multiple clouds. And the technology and the sales folks have to not only understand that, but also provide the customer a solution that allows them to maximize that full infrastructure.

Mohit Aron, CEO and founder, CohesityMohit Aron

Mohit Aron, CEO and founder, Cohesity: Rather than just being in the data center, or just being in the public cloud, a more hybrid approach with products spanning both the data center and the cloud will become the norm. The data center is like owning a house, while the public cloud lends itself to renting. The world is going to be a better place once products make both owning and renting simultaneously possible.

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