Buckle Up! The Top Storage Technology Trends for 2015

by Jay Kidd, CTO and Senior VP, NetApp

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In my 35 years in IT, I have never seen so much simultaneous change in technology. Every part of the IT stack is in transition—end user devices, networks, application design, virtual server software, physical server design, storage systems and even storage media. Some of the trends are well underway and will accelerate in 2015, while others are just starting to emerge. Either way, buckle up! Enterprise IT is in for another wild ride in 2015.

  1. The Internet of Things Will Combine with Big Data Analytics to Produce Really Smart Systems

    The rise of integrated telemetry in industrial equipment, health monitoring devices, mobile payment systems and a host of new sensors for measuring the world will spawn the next wave of business analytics. Companies that find their existing datasets insufficient for generating insights will be able to augment them with new, real-world datasets. The data from connected things, when coupled with big data analytics tools, will fundamentally change how companies touch the world.

  2. The Future of All-Flash Arrays is (Guess What?) Not All Flash

    Flash is transformative to the future of enterprise storage systems. But the idea of an all-flash datacenter is utter nonsense, and at least 80% of enterprise data will continue to reside on disks. Cost matters, and even the least expensive SSDs are likely to be 10 times more expensive than the least expensive SATA disks through the end of the decade.

    Of course, every storage architecture will incorporate flash to serve the ‘hot’ data, but those that provide only flash storage—without an ability to integrate with hybrid flash arrays and legacy disk systems—will be like hot rods in the garage. Fun to tinker with, but not versatile enough for the vast majority of IT workloads.

Learn how software-defined storage can improve IT economics.

  1. Multi-Vendor Hybrid Clouds Will be the Ones that Matter

    Every IT organization is already using the cloud in some form. Yet, just as most of them were reluctant to bet on a single vendor for their on-premise systems, the same caution will apply when it comes to cloud providers. Avoidance of lock-in, leverage in negotiations or simply a desire for choice will drive IT decision makers to deploy multi-vendor hybrid clouds. SaaS vendors that offer no way to extract data will suffer. PaaS layers that only run in a single cloud will see less usage than those that can run in multiple environments.

    On the other hand, software technologies that can be deployed both on premise and in a range of clouds will find favor among companies that think strategically about IT.

  2. Software-Defined Storage Will Bridge Private and Public Clouds

    Software-Defined Storage (SDS) solutions that can be deployed on a variety of hardware platforms will enable data fabrics that bridge on-premise and public clouds. SDS will provide a consistent way for applications to access data across clouds, and it will simplify data management when moving existing applications into the cloud. Those SDS solutions that can improve storage efficiency, such as Cloud ONTAP, will actually reduce the cost of moving data to and from the public cloud, and they will lower the cost of storing active data in the public cloud for long periods of time.

    SDS will also enable huge data repositories to be stored across a variety of geo-dispersed physical systems that can reside on-premise and in multiple external clouds. Data placement will be automated based on user-defined policies that can be updated to keep pace with changes to governance guidelines and data sovereignty regulations.

  1. Docker Containers Will Replace Hypervisors for Scale-Out Applications

    For new SaaS and enterprise applications written using the scale-out microservices model, Docker application containers have proven to be more resource efficient than VMs. As a result, all major orchestration systems now support Docker, and its application containers will replace traditional hypervisors for scale-out use cases. In 2015, we will also see the emergence of a robust ecosystem for data management and related services in support of Docker.

  2. New Hyper-Converged Compute Servers Will Emerge

    Traditional compute servers are rack-mounted boxes with dedicated CPUs, memory, I/O and network connections, typically running dozens of VMs. However, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) products with Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) have paved the way for a new type of compute server. HCI solutions, such as those that use VMware EVO:RAIL, enable DAS to be shared across several servers, making each “compute unit” more resilient while enabling the sharing of non-local enterprise data over a LAN or SAN.

    Beginning in 2015, the combination of solid state storage, broader adoption of remote direct memory access (RDMA) network protocols, and new interconnects will drive an even more advanced compute model, one in which the cores, memory and high-IOPs storage will all be integrated across a low-latency fabric. This new approach to HCI will enable multiple compute units to behave as a single, software-defined, rack-scale system.

New Opportunities for IT in 2015
For IT decision-makers, 2015 promises to be a year of transition and an exciting opportunity to drive changes that are both far-reaching and long-lasting. And don’t forget to buckle up—this ride is just beginning.

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